Shopping malls across the nation were taking additional security precautions Tuesday following a string of disturbances the day after Christmas that resulted in minor injuries, evacuations and scores of arrests.
Police were beefing up patrols and mall security guards were out in force after melees involving mostly young people erupted around malls in Elizabeth, N.J.; Fayetteville, N.C.; East Garden City, N.Y.; Aurora, Colo.; and Tempe, Ariz., among others.
In Manchester, Conn., around 6 p.m. Monday several hundred teens began fighting at the Shoppes at Buckland Hills. Police from a half dozen communities rushed to the mall and arrested eight people, police said.
About the same time at the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Ill., a large group of teenagers in the food court began fighting, according to a spokesman for the police department there. A police sergeant and private guard on duty at the mall tried to break up the fight. When they couldn’t disperse the crowd, the teens started throwing things at them. They called in backup and 75 additional police from eight nearby departments rushed to the mall where they arrested eight teenagers, including five girls. Then police evacuated the mall and closed it for the night.
Around 5 p.m. at the Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth four young women eating in the food court got into a loud altercation when one of them picked up a chair and slammed it down. The noise prompted someone to scream “shots fired” or “gun,” Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said Tuesday.