BEACHWOOD, Ohio (AP) — Fights have broken out at malls around the country, sending post-holiday shoppers scrambling for the exits.
No one was seriously injured in the mall melees Monday night, which during the panic, also prompted numerous false reports of gunfire.
Police in Ohio tell Cleveland.com that officers used pepper spray to disperse a large crowd following a fight at an upscale shopping mall in Beachwood, just outside of Cleveland.
Police say the incident there appears to have been “loosely organized on social media.”
There were similar disturbances at malls around the country including in New York, Texas and Colorado.
In Fort Worth, Hulen Mall closed after an incident at the shopping center in the city’s populous southwest area. According to a statement on the mall’s Facebook page: “Hulen Mall has closed for the evening as a result of an incident that jeopardized the peaceful, safe environment we strive to create for our community. We take these matters very seriously as the well-being of our shoppers and retailers is our number one priority. We are working closely with law enforcement and direct all inquiries to the Dallas Fort Worth Police Department. The shopping center will be open tomorrow.”
In Memphis, Tennessee, police arrested several people following fights at two malls there. No one was injured and no gunshots were fired, despite reports indicating otherwise.
“Somebody yelled ‘gun!’ and youths stampeded through the mall,” Deputy Chief Terry Landrum told The Commercial Appeal.
Police in Aurora, Colorado, near Denver, evacuated a mall due to multiple skirmishes.
In Aurora, Illinois, outside of Chicago, a mall there was temporarily shut down due to a large disturbance. Videos posted on Twitter showed mall security trying to get the situation under control.
There was no official word on whether any of the fights, which were also reported in Arizona, Texas, Indiana and Connecticut, were connected.
– FWBP’s staff contributed to this report.