Chuck E. Cheese’s Employees Attacked by ‘Mob’ from Birthday Party, Police Say

Elahe Izadi, Washington Post, March 10, 2015

A complaint over a malfunctioning photo booth at an Ohio Chuck E. Cheese’s escalated into a terrifying attack involving a dozen birthday party-goers on Sunday–an incident that left two employees seriously injured, according to police.

Police say a female patron complained to Chuck E. Cheese’s employees in Parma, Ohio, about the photo booth not working and that a manager told her she had to wait. Then, police said, one of the male party attendees followed the manager into the kitchen, threatened to kill him and began to attack.

Other employees tried to help their manager, and soon other party attendees joined the fracas and attacked the employees, police say. The brawl, which police say appears to have been one-sided, spilled into the dining room area, where children were present.

At least five men from the party are believed to have been directly involved in the attack, with up to a dozen party attendees egging on those fighting.

“I’m characterizing this as an attack on the employees of the restaurant by a mob of people,” Parma Police Lt. Kevin Riley told The Post. “There is no evidence at this point to show otherwise. This was an unprovoked attack on a bunch of employees trying to do their job.”

Two managers were seriously injured and taken to the hospital but have since been released, according to police. A total of six employees were injured, including one girl under the age of 18 who was struck in the face when she tried to call 911.

Those involved in the attack appear to be adults, police said, but they fled the scene before police arrived. {snip}

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Several years ago, the Wall Street Journal published a story about violence at the pizza parlors, reporting: “Chuck E. Cheese’s bills itself as a place ‘where a kid can be a kid.’ But to law-enforcement officials across the country, it has a more particular distinction: the scene of a surprising amount of disorderly conduct and battery among grown-ups.”

From that story:

Fights among guests are an issue for all restaurants, but security experts say they pose a particular problem for Chuck E. Cheese’s, since it is designed to be a haven for children. Law-enforcement officials say alcohol, loud noise, thick crowds and the high emotions of children’s birthday parties make the restaurants more prone to disputes than other family entertainment venues.

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