8 teens charged in Fox Valley Mall brawl; 75 cops responded
Eight teens, five of them girls, were charged Tuesday in connection with several fights that erupted Monday night in Aurora's Fox Valley Mall, police said.
The teens, ages 13 to 17, face misdemeanor charges, but police said those could be upgraded to felonies as their investigation continues. More arrests are possible.
None of the estimated 1,000 nearby mall patrons were injured. No one involved in the fights, including police and mall security, required immediate medical attention, authorities said.
The mall was closed for about an hour Monday night as 75 officers from eight agencies responded, but the shopping center at Route 59 and New York Street reopened Tuesday morning for business as usual.
Police said they are continuing to investigate what role social media may have played in organizing the disturbance and whether the fights are connected to similar cases reported in at least a dozen malls across the county.
A uniformed Aurora sergeant, hired by the mall through the department, called police about 6:30 p.m. Monday after he saw a large group of people gathering in the food court, police spokesman Dan Ferrelli said.
"He had a feeling that this was going to turn unruly," Ferrelli said.
When officers arrived at the mall, they joined security guards in asking the teens to disperse.
A short time later, police said, a large fight broke out followed by several smaller skirmishes. Some of the fights were captured on video and posted to social media.
The sergeant and a mall security officer both were struck while trying to break up the large fight, police said, and the situation quickly escalated as some teens began throwing drinks and other items.
Police said they became concerned for the safety of people in the common area and other shoppers, and chose to evacuate the building. The mall was closed to allow police to gain control of the situation. Officers from Naperville, Woodridge, St. Charles, Geneva and West Chicago were summoned along with deputies from the sheriff's departments of Kane and DuPage counties and troopers from the Illinois State Police.
In all, authorities said, roughly 75 law enforcement officers were called to the scene. There were no reports of property damage or thefts.
About a dozen or more people were physically fighting, police said.
Those arrested were:
• A 17-year-old girl charged with battery and resisting police.
• A 15-year-old girl charged with resisting police and disorderly conduct.
• Two girls ages 13 and 15 and a 15-year-old boy charged with battery.
• Two 14-year-old boys and a 16-year-old girl charged with obstructing police.
All of the teens were from Aurora except one, who lives in North Aurora.
Police said they are working closely with mall security to ensure the future safety of employees and shoppers.
"We've got a very close working relationship with mall management and mall security," Ferrelli said.
Similar disturbances were reported in New York, Colorado, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Arizona, North Carolina, Texas and elsewhere. Police in Ohio said a brawl in a mall about 20 miles outside Cleveland appears to have been "loosely organized on social media."
In Aurora, it's the second time in the past several days that a fight has broken out. A 21-year-old man was seen fighting with a group of other men and was detained by mall security about 1:05 p.m. Christmas Eve, police said.
When security tried to detain the other men, they all ran. Antonio Taylor Jr., from the 1700 block of Ravine Park Drive, was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.
Police said Taylor fought with two security officers inside one of the mall's stores and damaged a display. There were no injuries.
Ferrelli said Fox Valley has not been "a problem location" in the past.
Calls to the mall's general manager were not returned Tuesday.
Anyone with information about the Monday fights is asked to call police at (630) 256-5500 or Aurora Area Crime Stoppers at (630) 892-1000. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous.
• Daily Herald news services contributed to this report