SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Hassani Spears was forced to shut down his Splat Ball kiosk and leave the mall during the peak holiday rush.
“It was crazy I’m talking to my boss at the time and she’s like, ‘go ahead and close the business early lock everything up,'” Spears recalled.
He, along with the rest of the Arden Fair Mall, had to close early for safety.
“I think we could’ve made another $500 in that time,” he said.
Two brawls in three days sent workers and shoppers running, including a toddler, who broke his leg while trying to get away.
In each incident, hundreds of teens broke out into fights inside and outside the mall, swarming stores and parking lots.
“Take it to the park or go play ball or do something different,” said shopper Martha Brumfield.
Brumfield thinks keeping kids busy is one approach to solving the problem. City hall is on board with that idea.
“We’re gonna invest like never before in our young people,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
Steinberg first suggested the mall ban unaccompanied minors.
“I know there have been concerns about legality,” Steinberg said.
Now Steinberg is working with mall management to connect troubled teens with youth groups.
“The community is stepping up big time, led by health foundation to provide positive alternatives for young people,” he said.
This is not the first time Arden Fair Mall’s been rocked by fighting.
“This has been happening every year and every year it’s been getting worse around this time,” another shopper said.
That’s why Spears says it’s up to mall security and police to beef up their presence.
“You know, stuff happens,” he said.