Ollie Gillman, Daily Mail, December 28, 2015
As many as 2,000 children were involved in mass brawl at a mall in Kentucky last night, as a wave of violence at shopping centers spread across America.
Shocking video showed shoppers charging out of Mall St Matthews in Louisville after a huge number of teenagers sparked mayhem, with dozens of reports of fights.
Youths harassed store employees and tried to prevent businesses from closing as police attempted to shut down the mall.
The chaos came just a day after another brawl at a mall in Florida saw scores of teenagers–including dozens of girls–lash out at each other in the street.
There were also minor disturbances on Saturday at shopping centers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Long Island, New York.
Mall St Matthews re-opened on Sunday after the mass violence which saw around 2,000 children fight in the shopping center, which was filled with post-Christmas sales shoppers.
No arrests were made, but ‘it wasn’t for the lack of criminal activity,’ St Matthews police officer Dennis McDonald said.
‘We were largely outnumbered, and our focus was on restoring order and dispersing the crowd,’ he said.
‘And we were focused on the safety of patrons and of our fellow officers. Certainly, if they were assaulting innocent people, police would have made arrests.’
Police received reports of gunshots fired but could not confirm whether shots were actually fired, McDonald said, with 50 officers on the scene.
Minor injuries were reported from people being pushed down or shoved, he said.
The mayhem spilled into the mall parking lot and prompted some other nearby businesses and restaurants to close early, McDonald said.
It appeared teens used social media as the disturbances continued, he said.
‘We think they were communicating using social media,’ he said. ‘They would disperse and then all of a sudden there would be another group congregating at another location.’
On Christmas Day at Orange Park Mall in Jacksonville, Florida, hundreds more teens were involved in violence.
Eight people were arrested, of which two were juveniles, according to Wave3.
The news station reported that the arrests were for fighting, resisting arrest and possessing drugs. One person was arrested after they were found to be carrying a sub-machine gun.
A video posted online showed dozens of youths–including teenage girls–fighting in a car park, with punches thrown and people being thrown forcefully to the ground as police tried to break them up.
It is not known what sparked the violence in Kentucky and Florida.
There were also minor scuffles at Park City Mall in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and at Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island on Saturday.