Four teenagers were arrested Tuesday afternoon for their part in an organized disturbance that turned violent at the Philadelphia Mills Mall, police said.
Philadelphia Police said 300 to 400young people swarmed the mall around 3 p.m., after exiting city buses together. Mall security unsuccessfully tried to prevent the teens from entering the location, formerly the Franklin Mills Mall.
Authorities had been tipped off to the gathering, which had been publicized on SnapChat.
About six separate groups, each comprised of roughly 15 teens, refused to leave the mall’s food court, and were shouting at security officers, officials said. Police added that another 30 juveniles were seen fighting on the premises.
“They went to the food court area, and that’s when they started running around, yelling and screaming and acting disorderly,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said, ABC News reported.
Police said the group’s disruptive behavior hindered the mall’s operations for approximately two hours.
“They were pelting cops with fountain sodas and all kinds of trash,” Anthony Clark, a vendor at the mall, told 6ABC.
The four teenage boys arrested range in age from 14 to 17. They face charges ofaggravated assault, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, terroristic threats, simple assault, resisting arrest, harassment, failure disperse, police said.
One of the boys, 14, was arrested after refusing to leave the mall when the officer asked him to, police said. The officer grabbed him by the arm, and he began cursing, according to police.
A 17-year-old who authorities say grabbed that officer by the neck, punched him and tried to wrestle him to the ground, was also arrested.
A 15-year-old was taken into custody after authorities say he punched an officer in the head. And a 14-year-old was charged for disruptive behavior outside the mall, police said.
Tuesday was the second night of mayhem, 6ABC reported, after a stampede at the mall on Monday night.
“When somebody yelled ‘gun’ last night and the stampede started in our direction, I’m just glad nobody got hurt,” Clark told 6ABC.
Police have upped security around the mall to avoid a third night of destruction.
“We’ll just be out there ensuring that people can go to the mall and enjoy themselves in a safe manner,” Philadelphia Police Lt. John Stanford told 6ABC.
Kimberly M. Aquilina contributed to this report.