It was literally "boxing day" today as several fights broke out across different U.S. malls in what proved to be a turbulent day after Christmas.
Many shoppers who were intent on shopping from clearance racks or returning unwanted gifts were unable to do so because of the commotions. The day ended with police struggling to contain the unruly crowds and malls closing earlier than expected.
In Colorado, the disturbance started at around 7 p.m. when about 100 people became involved in a food court brawl at the Town Center in Aurora. Several people surrounded the security guards who came in to break up the fight.
As backup police arrived, a couple of smaller fights broke out in a movie theater and parking lot. This led the police to evacuate and close down the mall. Seven juveniles were arrested and 75 police officers came in to help quell the disturbance.
More than a hundred teenagers were involved in a scuffle at the Buckland Hills Mall. A police officer attempting to break up the fight was assaulted and several arrests were made. According to the police, no weapons were involved in the scene and there was also no indication that it was a gang-related violence.
A fight also broke out in Beachwood Place's food court at about 6:30 p.m., prompting police officers to disperse the crowds using pepper spray and declare a lockdown. A gunshot was earlier reported but turned out to be false. One teenager was arrested after assaulting an officer who was breaking up the fight.
Two incidents of mall disturbances were reported in Memphis, after a shootout threat was posted on social media. One was in Wolfchase Galleria and involved unruly juveniles. Police arrested six people and one was detained after refusing to leave the area despite the officers' orders.
The second incident happened in Oak Court Mall at 7:12 p.m. and started with "the fire alarm going off and after that, people just started running around," said Jackie Moses, who happened to be shopping at the time of the incident.
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Shoppers fled the Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville after reports of gunshots being fired surfaced. The police have confirmed that the disturbance originated from a group of teenagers who were fighting in the food court. Medical personnel also came on the scene after one of the shoppers had a medical episode.
From minor scuffles to major evacuations, the commotions sent post-holiday shoppers scrambling for the nearest exits. Similar incidents have also been reported in Elizabeth, New Jersey and Fort Worth, Texas.