Three women have been charged after police accused them of fighting at a Connecticut mall the day after Christmas in a massive brawl that included hundreds of juveniles.
Police responded to Buckland Hills Mall around 6 p.m. on Dec. 26 after officers inside the mall reported that 200 to 300 people — “most appearing to be juveniles” — were involved in a large fight and other disturbances during post-holiday shopping, Manchester police said in a news release.
Police said there were so many people involved in the brawl that officers called for backup from nearby towns.
“It was very unnerving to think that’s happening at a place we go to all the time and don’t think twice,” said Claire Taylor, who altered her shopping itinerary Thursday after the Wednesday melee broke out, FOX 61 reports. “We are kind of just avoiding it. We’ve been going there for years and it always just seemed safe and we wouldn’t think something like that would occur in our neighborhood.”
Video from the scene posted on YouTube by WFSB shows dozens of teens running, screaming and pouring down escalators in front of a Sears.
Another video, this one posted by NBC Connecticut, appears to show an officer trying to break up the fighting inside, as well as a heavy police presence outside the mall.
One of the women arrested, Dynastee McCoy, 19, fought in the disturbance that triggered the broader fight, police said. Two other women, Inaeja Williams and Naejza Bates, both 18, were arrested after police said they “interfered with officers.” Each woman was charged with inciting a riot, breach of peace and interfering with officers.
An unidentified 17-year-old male was arrested as well. Police said they found a loaded handgun tucked into his pants. He was charged with criminal trespassing and carrying a pistol without a permit. He also faces the same charges as the women arrested on Wednesday, police said.
The brawl ended with no reported injuries roughly 30 minutes after it started and the scene was calm by 7 p.m., the Hartford Courant reports.
“Group mentality can definitely take effect, and I think it was just youth taking advantage of the situation,” Manchester police Lt. Ryan Shea said, according to the Courant.
Milford police said the Connecticut Post Mall had to close on Dec. 26 because of fights as well, the Connecticut Post reports.
That mall said it’s considering actions to prevent future fights.
“We are reviewing our policy regarding juvenile patrons and will make any necessary modifications needed to prevent future incidents,” Connecticut Post Mall managers said in a statement, according to the Courant. “Connecticut Post Mall is committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all our guests.’‘
Police said they’re beefing up their presence at the Buckland Hills Mall “for the foreseeable future.”