Mayfair Mall Closes Early After Tumult

Meg Jones, Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee), January 2, 2011

Mayfair Mall [in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin] closed down early on Sunday afternoon as New Year’s weekend shoppers were told to leave after witnesses reported seeing groups of unruly young people shouting and running in the Wauwatosa shopping center.

There also were unsubstantiated reports of gunfire.

Elsa Mercado was trying on clothes in a fitting room at Ann Taylor Loft when she heard loud noises. Her sister was at another store, and when Mercado tried to leave to check on her, she discovered she was locked in as some of the stores brought down their security gates.

“Someone was pounding on our door and saying, ‘Please let me in. There’s gunfire.’ We unlocked the door and let him in. He was very frightened, he was very pale,” said Mercado, who used her cell phone to call 911.

Mercado said the 911 dispatcher asked her location.

“They wanted to know where I was; it seemed like they had gotten a lot of calls throughout the mall,” said Mercado, who saw a group of rowdy young people she estimated to number around 100. “It was happening throughout the entire mall. It was not isolated to one part of the mall.”

A Mayfair Mall official said in an e-mailed statement late Sunday {snip} “What occurred this afternoon appears to be a group of youth intent on disrupting the shopping experience at Mayfair. The safety and security of our visitors are always our top priority. This behavior is isolated and we will not condone it,” Mayfair Senior General Manager Steve Smith said in the statement.

“To assist police earlier in identifying and apprehending suspects, we made the decision to close the mall shortly before our regular closing time,” Smith said. “We anticipate there will be consequences as a result of what happened today.”

{snip}

Several Wauwatosa police squad cars were sent to the mall. Police at the scene said they were not allowed to speak to the media and a police dispatcher refused to provide any details. The dispatcher said no information would be released until Monday.

{snip}

Laura Hughes was in the Barnes & Noble bookshop when she heard screaming and the sound of a large group of people running. She walked out the second floor of the bookseller and “saw large sums of teenagers running towards Boston Store and going down the escalators to the first level. Mall security had been chasing some of the kids, followed by police officers, who were literally herding the kids downstairs.”

{snip}

 

mall

A view of Mayfair Mall.

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