At least one fight shuts down Fox Valley Mall in Aurora
Employees at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora say a fight and possibly multiple fights inside drew a significant police presence and shut down the building for business about 7:30 p.m., nearly 90 minutes before the scheduled closing time.
It was one of several mall melees seen and reported across the country, even captured on video, but the reasons for the fights were unknown Monday night and there were no confirmed reports of coordination.
Derek Buchelly, manager of the Sbarro restaurant, said the fight appeared to be going on near his business and to have involved 10 to 15 people -- not the 500 people reported by other sources -- with many onlookers.
Danny Arevalo, swing manager of the McDonald's at the mall, said his business was much farther from the action than Sbarro and he wasn't able to tell as well what was going on. But he said a clearly separate fight involving more people than he could count then broke out in front of the nearer Dunkin' Donuts.
Arevalo said he had no idea what started either disturbance but that the mall appeared to have been safely evacuated.
A representative of mall security said management would not be making any statements Monday night, and Aurora police would not immediately comment on what had happened.
But ABC 7 Chicago reported that police said at least seven juveniles were arrested and more were being questioned, and that there were no injuries. Police said they had 75 officers respond to the scene.
The mall's security told ABC 7 that the mall would reopen normally Tuesday.
Jock Patel, who works at the Dunkin' Donuts, arrived after the disturbance. He said he was called specifically because the mall was being shut down and all of his co-workers who had been there at the time had already left.
But Buchelly said it was definitely the police presence as opposed to mall security and management alone that secured the scene.
Buchelly said he'd been working at the Sbarro restaurant at Chicago Ridge Mall about two years ago when there was another massive disturbance and reports of shots fired. He said that event was much more significant than what he witnessed Monday in Aurora.
Major fights broke out at other malls across the country Monday night, but whether they were connected was unclear.
In Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, police used pepper spray to disperse a large crowd after a fight at an upscale mall, prompting a lockdown. Officers initially responded to the scene for a report of shots fired, but police later confirmed that there were no gunshots.
Fire officials say a man and a police officer were exposed to the pepper spray and received medical treatment. No one else was injured. Police say a juvenile was taken into custody for assaulting a police officer. It was not immediately clear what led to the fight.
In Manchester, Connecticut, several people were arrested in multiple fights at The Shoppes at Buckland Hills mall. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.
Manchester police Capt. Chris Davis posted on his Twitter account that several hundred teenagers were in the mall at the time and there were several fights. He says several people were arrested and the mall was evacuated.
In Fayetteville, North Carolina, a disturbance was reported at about 5 p.m. Fayetteville police Lt. Todd Joyce said some teenagers were involved in a fight at the mall. He said officers found no one injured from the altercation. He says there's no evidence shots were fired, even though some witnesses thought they heard a gunshot.
Other places with disturbances that led to mall evacuations included Elizabeth, New Jersey; East Garden City, New York; Aurora, Colorado; Tempe, Arizona; and Memphis, USA Today reported.
• The Associated Press contributed to this report.