SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Many shoppers at Arden Fair mall experienced terrifying moments after hundreds of teens stormed the mall causing fights and leaving some people badly injured.
The series of brawls happened within the last few days. Mayor Darrell Steinberg is now recommending a ban on all unaccompanied minors as a temporary solution.
The fights forced stores to close early and shoppers to rethink how they do business.
Denise, a Sacramento shopper who did not want to be identified, stopped by the Arden Fair Mall this weekend to redeem a gift certificate, but was met with chaos and fear.
“Oh my God. Terror. Incident at Macy’s,” she screamed over a video recorded on her smartphone.
Denise was in the shoe department talking with a sales clerk when a huge swarm of teenagers came running in the store. She took shelter inside a stockroom thinking there was an active shooter at the mall.
“They were screaming, yelling. They look like they were running in fear of their lives and what I heard was kill or killed and then the sales clerk and I looked as we were trying to process it and then we realized once everyone else just scattered,” she said.
Mall officials say the commotion was caused by several fights that were allegedly organized through social media, an incident Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg calls “unacceptable” and over Twitter suggesting “people under the age of 18 be accompanied by a parent or guardian when visiting the mall.”
“Well, that’s absurd. I mean, first of all. It will not happen,” said attorney Jeff Kravitz.
Kravitz said being at the mall in California is equivalent to walking on the street. Certain stores can create policies similar to the mayor’s suggestion but putting a temporary ban on the entire mall might be difficult.
“From what I understand there wasn’t any actual criminal activity taking place. If there was I’m assuming somebody might get arrested and let me tell you, I hope they are not prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law because I don’t think kids on break who might act unruly should have their lives ruined by criminal prosecution,” he said.
A two-year-old boy suffered a broken leg and Denise injured her shoulder as people ran out of the mall. Both families are urging the mayor and the mall to make changes including having extra security on the property.