AURORA, Colo. — Police evacuated the Town Center of Aurora and closed the mall on the day after Christmas, after what they described as a “large disturbance.” Police say it started with a post on social about a fight planned at the mall and escalated from there.
— Aurora Police Dept. 🚔👮🏼♀️👮🏾♂️ (@AuroraPD) December 27, 2016
FOX31 Denver Reporter Ashley Michels said the incident started as a fight in the food court and ended up involving about 500 people.
Police said at one point, the crowds were circling around their officers and that’s why they decided to evacuate the mall.
“When the officer went to arrest one of the subjects involved he was surrounded by a unruly crowd,” Sgt. Chris Amsler stated. “As the officer was attempting to escort the arrestee to the Aurora Police Substation inside of the Town Center the crowd continued to advance on the officer and several other fights broke out.”
Police said five people were arrested. They were all under 18 years old, Michels reported.
About 3,500 hundred shoppers were evacuated from the mall.
“How it all started, was actually something on social media,” said Sgt. Chris Amsler with the Aurora Police Department. “There was something going around on social media, that was going to take place here at the Town Center of Aurora, which is what drew all of these people who were up to no good to our mall.”
Police later described it as “multiple skirmishes inside of the mall.” No customers or officers were hurt, according to Aurora police.
One witness tweeted a video showing police officers holding at least two women face-down on the ground. One of them can be heard screaming.
“Public is asked to avoid the area unless you need to pickup a family member,” police tweeted at 5:25 p.m.
Officers said they were working to clear out the parking lots at about 5:35 p.m.
Denver police were called in to help Aurora officers.
Streets around the mall were blocked by police vehicles at about 6:05 p.m.
Family members looking to pick up loved ones can enter the Town Center off of Exposition Avenue, police tweeted at about 6:30 p.m.
Seeing snapchats of large amount of people in mall running and scattering. Mall being evacuated now pic.twitter.com/xtO0LoNVPu
— Ashley Michels (@ReporterAshley) December 27, 2016
“The mall is closing early this evening due to a disturbance. No immediate threats exist. We will open tomorrow at 10 a.m.,” mall officials tweeted at about 6:45 p.m.