MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Post Mall closed early Thursday after massive fights broke out.
Police told News 8 that “huge fights” involving “in excess of a couple hundred” people broke out at the mall around 6 p.m., forcing it to close, and sending shoppers home in a panic.
“This whole situation was crazy,” New Haven resident, Monae Moye, told News 8 after the incident. “They were fighting in the food court… All I saw was somebody, they swung and hit somebody in the head and that person just fell out. It was like they hit them so hard it was so crazy.”
Watch: Raw, full interview with Moye
Officials said the fight started in the food court but spread throughout the mall and to where the buses were.
Moye said one of the people involved had a gun.
“Somebody and their friends, they were fighting and then someone pulled a gun. They said they were ‘strap’ and they ‘had a gun,’ and that’s when they [police] just shut the whole mall down.”
It was not confirmed that officers saw the gun or that shots were fired.
Once the fights spread, officials used K-9 officers to removed crowds of shoppers.
“It was a lot of K-9s because people wouldn’t leave, so they pulled out a lot of K-9s, and it was just one guy; he was just standing up there like these kids have no home training,” Moye said. “It was just crazy.”
Police said no injuries were reported; however, the mall was damaged during the scuffle.
So far, no arrests have been made; however, an investigation is ongoing. Officers said their main concern was getting those fighting out of the mall.
It is believed that the fights were among “unsupervised young adults” under the age of 18.
Mall officials released a statement Thursday night. It read in part:
Because the safety and security of our shoppers, employees and retailers is our top priority, we worked closely and in full cooperation with Milford PD and other local law enforcement to clear mall common areas… Connecticut Post Mall is committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all our guests. We will continue wo work diligently with local law enforcement to prevent future incidents. We are reviewing our policy regarding juvenile patrons and will make any necessary modifications needed to provide a safe and comfortable shopping environment.
Milford police received help from Stratford, West Haven, and Orange police departments and Connecticut State Police.
Shoppers told News 8 they were asked to leave and had issues getting out of parking lots and using nearby streets due to the number of vehicles leaving the mall simultaneously.
The incident came weeks after two shopping centers implemented curfews during the holiday season after two fights at the Shoppes at Buckland Hills.
“A couple of the other malls chose to not allow people that were [under] 18 years of age into the mall without an adult,” said Michael Devito, Public Information Officer for Milford Police Department, said in a news conference. “This mall I know was leaning toward that.”
The CT Post Mall is now implementing a Parental Escort Policy for the time being. In a statement, mall officials said,
“In order to provide a safe and comfortable shopping environment, Connecticut Post Mall will immediately implement a Parental Escort Policy (PEP) for guests under the age of 18. This policy will be in effect from 3:00pm to 9:00pm today, December 27th and from 1:00pm until close on Saturday and Sunday, December 28-29.
The safety of our guests, employees, and tenants at Connecticut Post Mall is our top priority. We will continue to work diligently with local law enforcement to prevent future incidents.”Connecticut Post Mall, Milford
CT Post Mall officials say patrons will be asked to leave the property if they do not comply with the PEP.
Moye said she believes they should just close the mall the day after Christmas.
“I just think that they’re going to shut down the on the 26th now because we can’t be great. We can’t be great ’cause every one is just… it’s just crazy.”
On Dec. 26, 2018, the mall also closed early after several fights that involved multiple teenagers.
Mall officials said the mall will reopen Friday. They said Cinemark, Macy’s, Boscov’s, Target, Dave & Buster’s, LA Fitness, Dick’s, Bar Louie, Guacamole’s and Buffalo Wild Wings remained open Thursday night.
Police said disturbances also broke out at Westfarms Mall and Westfield Trumbull.