The day after Christmas was chaotic for shoppers at malls across the country as a series of fights led to evacuations, several arrests and plenty of panic.
Police in Ohio Monday deployed pepper spray to disperse a large crowd after a fight at an upscale shopping mall in Beachwood, a Cleveland suburb. They told Fox 19 the skirmish appeared to have been organized in part on social media.
Officers initially responded to the scene at the Beachwood Place mall for a report of shots fired. Police later confirmed that there were no gunshots. They said they took a juvenile into custody for assaulting a police officer.
In Elizabeth, N.J., a fight sparked panic inside the Mills at Jersey Gardens after witnesses reported they heard a gunshot. As it turned out, it was just a thrown chair, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage said. Two people were hurt in the panic, Fox 5 reported.
Police in Connecticut arrested several people after they said fights broke out at The Shoppes at Buckland Hills mall.
Several hundred teenagers were in the mall at the time, Manchester police Capt. Chris Davis tweeted. He said crews evacuated the mall. There were no immediate reports of any serious injuries.
In North Carolina, emergency medical personnel rushed to Fayetteville’s Cross Creek Mall after reports of a fight there. Police were reviewing mall security video to see if charges were warranted, police Lt. Todd Joyce said.
Meanwhile, police outside Denver evacuated the Town Center at Aurora after reporting a “large disturbance.” They said there were no reports of anybody hurt.
Even the Mall of America in Minnesota forced a higher level of security.
Many malls and shopping centers across the U.S. likely expected the big crowds. Monday was a holiday for many companies and government institutions, the same day that post-Christmas sales began.