The day the Canadians call Boxing Day was more like Brawling Day in the US, with fights and other disturbances shutting down malls across the country Monday. In several incidents, fights in food courts or other areas of crowded malls led to chaos as rumors spread of shots being fired. A roundup of incidents:
- In Aurora, Colo., every on-duty officer in town and officers from neighboring forces were called in to deal with multiple fights and a crowd that grew to 500 people, the Denver Post reports. Cops say the mayhem began when a crowd surrounded officers trying to arrest somebody suspected of fightingin a mall food court. At least five juveniles were arrested and the Town Center mall was shut down.
- The Hulen Mall in Fort Worth, Texas, was put on lockdown after police investigating reports of gunshots discovered that brawls had broken out involving up to 150 people, Reuters reports.
- A police spokeswoman tells CNN that there was "chaotic panic and everybody running all at once" after people thought they heard gunshots at the Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, NJ. The sound turned out to have been a chair being slammed during a fight. Two children, ages 8 and 12, were injured amid the chaos.
- In Memphis, Tenn., arrests were made after fights at two malls and reports of gunshots that turned out to be false, the AP reports. "Somebody yelled 'gun!' and youths stampeded through the mall," a police spokesman says.
- In a very similar incident in Fayetteville, NC, there was what the Fayetteville Observer calls a "scary level of panic" at Cross Creek Mall after a fight in the food court led to hundreds of people running through the mall amid unconfirmed reports of gunshots. Officials ended up evacuating and closing the mall.
- Cleveland.com reports that the Beachwood Place mall in a Cleveland suburb was locked down Monday evening and police used pepper spray to disperse a crowd after yet another brawl resulted in pandemonium and false reports of shots being fired.
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