Hundreds of teens storm Cincinnati-area mall; at least 9 arrested, police say

The day after Christmas is traditionally a stressful day for shoppers, who flock to stores to return gifts or look for post-holiday deals. Shoppers at a mall in Ohio experienced even more stress Thursday, as hundreds of teens ran wild through the complex, starting fights and creating a panic, police said.

"There was kids swinging on the police officers. It just got chaotic," Jackie Cella, a shopper at the Northgate Mall in suburban Cincinnati, told WCPO.

According to Colerain Township police, the fight began in the mall's food court shortly before 6 p.m., WLWT reported. Police said nearly 200 juveniles were in the mall when the fight broke out, but it was unclear how many participated, the television station reported. At least nine teens were arrested, police said.

James Love, a spokesman for Colerain Township police, said the juveniles were rushing the doors at the mall 30 to 40 at a time, WXIX reported. Most of the teens were junior high school students who are too young to drive, Love told the television station.

Investigators said the teens may have responded to a Facebook post that told them to come to the mall, WCPO reported.

“This was a social media-organized situation,” Love told the television station, adding he did not know why the gathering turned violent. A Colerain Township police officer was overwhelmed by the number of juveniles.

"They were just being aggressive. They were fighting with each other," Love told WCPO. "When he tried to stop and talk and deal with them, they were being aggressive toward him. There was hundreds of them in the mall."

“I immediately thought of a stampede,” shopper Maria Hill told the television station. “Like, we needed to figure out where the kids were going.”

Police were able to move the crowd away from the mall, but Love said the teens began to flood neighboring fast-food restaurants, WXIX reported.

“Once they were out of the mall, they barraged McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, the businesses around the mall,” Love told the television station. “Those kids were just standing there, they weren’t ordering anything, they were being obnoxious so they just locked their doors.”

Police from Springfield Township, Mt. Healthy and Green Township were called to assist Colerain Township officers, WLWT reported.

Love told reporters there would be a stronger police presence at the mall for the rest of the winter school break and urged parents to supervise their children.

"No. 1: Children need supervision. No. 2: Why would you drop your kids off here knowing that there's a potential for this kind of stuff going on?" Love told WLWT.

About the Author