A large scale brawl at the Mall of Louisiana last Friday sent shoppers running as Baton Rouge police scrambled to control the situation. The fight involved nearly two hundred teenagers, according to police and eyewitnesses.
One shopper reported that she was shopping in a Gap clothing store when she saw “hundreds of people running and screaming.” Some shoppers were forced to hide in stores, while others ran in fear to get out of the mall.
Many witnesses said they feared the panic was due to a shooter in the mall, but reports from the police say that no weapons were found on the scene. Police surrounded the building after calls from panicked shoppers reported that a huge fight had broken out in the second floor food court. Col. Lawrence McLeary said the brawl began when two girls started fighting as a crowd gathered. No details have been given about why the fight broke out. The only apparent reason was that teens had assembled for a flash mob that night, according to Baton Rouge police.
Police led juveniles out the mall to wait for parents to pick them up, and more fights broke out while they waited. At least six teens involved in the incident have been arrested according to Baton Rouge police.
“It’s definitely scary,” said one LSU student living on campus in Baton Rouge. “Anytime something like that happens, whether it is a shooting or a fight between a bunch of kids, it definitely makes you think about how safe you are in a public place.”
During the ruckus, many took to social media sites like Twitter to report on what was happening from within. Juston Millet, a man who witnessed the carnage at the mall tweeted, “People were running everywhere. It was like a movie, but you were in it. So glad that no one was hurt and that me and my family are safe at home.”
Many feel the craziness of Friday’s event is indicative of the heightened sensitivity to possible gun violence since the recent incidences of the Batman premier in Colorado and the Connecticut school shooting.