The Mall of Louisiana is described on its website as a source of "Exciting shopping, dining and entertainment in Baton Rouge." On Saturday night, that description seemed especially apt after a massive, 200 person flash mob in the mall turned into a giant brawl. According to reports, the fight broke out in the mall's food court, where roughly 200 teenagers had congregated for the "social media" inspired flash mob
"We think there was some sort of post on social media about a flash mob for tonight which drew such a large crowd of juveniles," Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, said.
One thing led to another and soon people were overturning chairs and tables, which set off a rush to the exits. Things were so out of hand that employees at the mall were told to abandon their cash registers and to evacuate the building immediately. There were initially reports of gun fire, but those were denied by police.
Several local news groups have some cell phone footage of the incident, available below, but, as befiting a "social media" brawl such as this one, the best firsthand accounts were posted to Facebook.
As Missy Melancon, of Inniswold, LA, posted last night [sic throughout]:
First I am ok, at the mall of Louisiana had a person or person's with a gun, saw people running and screaming I turned around a girl told me someone has a gun I started running with them , a poor Ellet lady froze I grabed her hand and pulled her with me, we got out, young girl in front if me feel me and her friend got her up and ran , they let me in their car and drive me to where I thought I was parked , I am on my car stuck trying to get out of the parking lot police ambulance , helicopter are everywhere, thank you to those two wonderful girls who took me into their car.... I am still shaking , so scared .... Thank you god !!!!
Then, three hours later:
Now I am home still can't believe what happen, now hearing 200 hundred teenagers did this planned this and it was posted on social network , I am getting angry ... Picturing the mob of people running towards me screaming and crying the fear on their faces, the fear I felt not knowing the hole time I was running out of the mall if the person who people were yelling had a gun if he was behind us... What these kids did tonight is in forgivable , that elderly lady who's hand I grabbed to get her out of the mall, the girl who was running so hard fell and hit the ground hard, 2 girls who got me in their car was hysterical crying on the phone to her daddy... God only knows what others went through tonight because if those kids... I am so thankful to god to be safe, but also very angry .
Another witness, Juston D'Nea Millet, posted about the incident, saying she had "never been that scared in [her] life" and that the ordeal was "like a movie, but you were in it."
WWLTV reports up to ten people will face criminal charges.
[Image via ABC News]