Mall employees worry about their safety after fight over the weekend
POSTED: Monday, January 7, 2013 - 9:38am
UPDATED: Monday, January 7, 2013 - 4:21pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — A large gathering of juveniles at the Mall of Louisiana on Saturday, Jan. 5 lead to a fight and mall evacuation.
The mall is usually a hangout for teens but what happened Saturday was very unusual.
“It felt odd there have been times when there are lots of teens in there but not that many in that small of space,” said a mall employee. This employee, who asked to be unidentified, was on her way out when she noticed the food court was packed with hundreds of teens.
"I called my store back and said don't leave the store de don't go upstairs something’s gong on.”
Officials say the fight broke out, causing a huge disturbance, which alerted police. Initially officials thought a flash mob was behind the gathering, but it was actually because of a "meet and greet" invitation on a social media outlet called “Instagram” that brought together the two hundred teens.
"It’s kind of like, hey let's all go do this and it got out of hand 'cause everyone follows people on Instagram on Twitter. It got way huge. Cops were involved - a fight and everything," says Maggie Meador about the fight.
In just minutes multiple agencies including the Sheriff's Office, police, and State Troopers got everyone out of the mall and shut it down. After only minutes the sheriff, police department and State Police assisted in moving everyone outside and shutting down the mall.
"We have a few in custody that will be charged with fistic encounter," Casey Hicks, East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, said.
But events like these make some mall employees not only scared, but angry.
"The mall is used as a dumping ground for teenagers and I think that’s something that shouldn’t be allowed. That needs to be regulated because if you allowed that many teens to congregate something more than likely is going happen," said the mall employee.
And even though no one was injured, she at first heard rumors that there were shots fired, so now she can't help but think twice the next time she steps foot in that mall.
"It's bizarre something happened and something much worse happened later doesn't make me feel comfortable about going back in there," she noted.
There were no weapons involved and no one was injured. The hundreds of teens waited outside for their parents after the mall was shut down.
The incident is still under investigation.