One of Kentucky's biggest shopping malls erupted into multiple brawls Saturday night involving as many as 2,000 people, NBC News reports. Six officers working at Mall St. Matthews in suburban Louisville responded to fights at around 7pm and saw them chain-react into other disturbances. "As they were responding to those disturbances, others were breaking out. ... Disturbances started to feed on themselves," says Officer Dennis McDonald. "They were just overwhelmed with a number of calls for service and reports of disorder." Soon five agencies sent a total of 50 officers to handle the brawlers, who were aged 13 to their early 20s, McDonald says. "This was a riot," he adds. "It was crazy."
Mall management decided to close the mall at 8pm, but brawlers tried to keep store gates open and soon poured into the parking lot, the Courier-Journal reports. "Was just out there and cop cars everywhere," tweeted Steve Jones. "Groups of kids at every corner." Traffic was slowed as the ruffians dispersed into nearby streets and businesses, like a Whole Foods parking lot and restaurants on Shelbyville Road; there were also unconfirmed reports of shots fired. Officers stayed until 1am ("We're all tired," McDonald says) but the mall reopened Sunday with extra police officers and no further incident, CBS News reports. The fights didn't appear organized, but McDonald believes juveniles used social media to come together in other areas of the mall after being dispersed. (Read more mall stories.)