Chaos struck at least 15 malls across the country on Monday as fights broke out and false reports of gunfire spread rapidly on social media, reports USA Today. Many minor injuries and some arrests were reported. The disturbances — most involving teenagers — disrupted already-hectic post-Christmas shopping in cities in a dozen or more states. Authorities suggested some of the incidents may have been connected since several began after someone shouted, “Gun!” Such was the case in panic and fights at the Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, N.J., and the Wolfchase Galleria in Memphis.
Similar episodes resulted in panic and, in some cases, evacuations or closings at malls in many other states. Police said some of the episodes were organized on social media. Other disturbances were reported at Cross Creek in Fayetteville, N.C.; Hamilton Place in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Oak Court in Memphis; Town Center in Aurora, Colo.; Fox Valley in Aurora, Ill.; Arizona Mills in Tempe, Ariz.; Castleton Square in Indianapolis; the Shoppes at Buckland Hills and Westfarms in Connecticut; Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y.; Beachwood Place in Cleveland; Monroeville Mall in Pennsylvania, and Hulen Mall in Texas.