At around 4 p.m. on Aug. 27, officers from the Torrance Police Department in Los Angeles County and surrounding agencies were mobilized to the Del Amo Fashion Center in the 3500 block of Carson Street. The officers were called to investigate what witnesses described as a "large group of juveniles who are fighting amongst themselves." One witness told police that they heard at least one gunshot during the fights.
Video footage from the incident shows dozens of juveniles punching and kicking each other, with blood spattered on the ground.
According to local media outlet City News Service, officers from all over LA County police departments as well as the LA County Sheriff's Office responded to help get the large crowd under control. The cause of the fight is still unknown. (Related: Los Angeles PD vows crackdown on crime following smash-and-grab heists by flash mobs.)
A similar incident occurred in Emeryville in the San Francisco East Bay region at around 4:30 p.m. on the same day. The incident involved at least 300 juveniles who got into a fight near a movie theater.
Police officers initially responded to reports of a disturbance involving around 50 teens inside the Bay Street Mall, with the officers escorting the kids out. But 45 minutes later, the first group grew to 100 as the rest kept arriving.
By 5:40 p.m., several small fights broke out among the hundreds of teenagers. Multiple agencies also responded to assist in the incident at Emeryville. Police confirmed that one person fired a gun once, but that it did not hit anyone.
Capt. Oliver Collins, a spokesman for the Emeryville Police Department, said only one juvenile was arrested. Another was stabbed with non-life-threatening injuries. The motive for the fights is still unknown and there are still no details about whether the person arrested was the same person who stabbed the injured juvenile.
Fresno resident Kathryn Borrud said she ran right into the group – estimated to have been at least 300 to 400 teenagers – as they were trying to leave the area. She thought it was strange to see such a large group of juveniles, but the group suddenly started running towards them. Borrud added that they thought the teenagers ran because of gunfire or a knife.
Borrud and her son were knocked over after the teenagers ran their way. Someone pushed past her, which caused her to fall to the ground. Her son skinned his knees.
Brenda Valladares, another witness, added that the incident at the Bay Street Mall incident got so out of hand that the teenagers eventually reached a nearby Target. She said they then started pulling items off shelves, making a mess of the store and shoplifting in front of her family.
Valladares says she is flabbergasted at what the group of 400 teenagers had been doing. She also worried about her daughter, who sometimes asks her if she could go to the movies by herself. Her daughter isn't old enough to go alone, and the incident has made her worry more about her safety.
Annalise Garcia, another witness, said the juveniles kept fighting while many also started stealing. The teenagers also started throwing merchandise onto the floor.
While the police wouldn't confirm the connection to the Target incident, they confirmed the announcement of a "link up" that was posted to social media. The post originally called the large group of teens to the Bay Street Mall.
The incident happened on National Cinema Day, where tickets at AMC Theaters were being sold for only $4. Shortly after the incident, AMC posted a message on its website to announce that the location had been temporarily closed.
Reports also showed that another incident occurred in Washington state. A large group of juveniles congregated at the Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, just south of Seattle.
The fight allegedly started in the food court before quickly spreading to other areas of the mall. The mall was evacuated during the incident, while police officers said that initial reports of gunshots fired were inaccurate. However, one male juvenile leaving the scene was found to be in possession of a firearm.
Several outside agencies also responded to assist with this incident because of the large number of mall-goers at the time.
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