Local Mayor Blaming Social Media For Fueling Violent Brawls At Monroeville Mall
MONROEVILLE (KDKA) -- Monroeville Mall was much quieter Saturday; the day after a chaotic melee forced the facility to shut down early.
It was an ugly and chaotic scene at the Monroeville Mall Friday night when violent brawls - caught on cell phone video - broke out inside, frightening shoppers and sending several police departments to the scene.
"Disappointment is probably an understatement," said Monroeville Mayor Greg Erosenko. "We're in the holiday season… just don't understand these young folks that were down there."
Mayor Erosenko is out of town visiting family. He says he believes the violence could not have happened at a worst time as the mall is making a comeback.
"If you look at our mall, it's been reinventing itself over the last couple of years," said Mayor Erosenko. "They're doing very well; to have an incident like this is very tragic."
Police estimate more than a thousand teenagers showed up at the mall at the encouragement of social media. According to police, one teen came from as far away as the West End.
Two people were injured and no one was arrested.
Police say it was clearly a misuse of social media, but now they hoping social media will help lead to the identification and arrest of the troublemakers.
"We do anticipate us following this up, and hopefully make arrests," said Monroeville Police Chief Doug Cole. "We have cooperating victims."
While teenage girls were fighting, a number of males were using cell phones to record the violence rather than trying to stop it. The mayor says he blames social media.
"If I can get that out there as a plea to have the parents of these young people to please help get that under control," Mayor Erosenko said. "Because it's not good for us as a community; it's not good for anybody. It's very negative."
The mall was forced to shut down early on Friday, but reopened for business Saturday and will maintain a heightened police presence.
The mayor says he plans to meet with mall officials on Monday.
"We're going to do some strategic planning with the mall to hopefully control or prevent any type of activity like this last night," he said.
Monroeville Mall wasn't the only business affected by fighting on Friday night.
A mall in Independence, Missouri, was locked down when several hundred teenagers started fighting. There was similar trouble at a mall in Sacramento, California.
Monroeville Police say there is no connection between those malls and what happened locally.
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