Cross Creek Mall to reopen Tuesday after fight forces evacuation
Posted December 26, 2016
Updated December 27, 2016
Fayetteville, N.C. — Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville is set to reopen Tuesday after police evacuated the building on Monday evening because of a fight.
The Fayetteville incident was just one of several such incidents around the country.
Authorities said that a confrontation began in the mall food court at about 4:40 p.m. Fayetteville Police said several people called 911 saying they heard what they thought were gunshots. Officers said there was no evidence that shots were fired at the mall prior to the evacuation.
“It originally came out as a robbery call. We have confirmed no robbery has happened. As officers were in route, they got calls that there were shots being fired inside the mall,” said Shawn Strepay with the Fayetteville Police Department.
Police believe the panic started with a fight between teenagers in the food court and escalated.
Fights broke out at malls around the country Monday night sending shoppers, who were looking for post-holiday deals, scrambling for the exits.
Cross Creek Mall said it will be enforcing its youth escort policy, which requires all visitors younger than 18 years old be accompanied by a person older than 21, beginning every day at 5 p.m. through Dec. 31.
There were similar disturbances at malls around the country including in New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Colorado. In Memphis, police arrested several people following fights at two malls there. No one was injured and no gunshots were fired, despite reports indicating otherwise.
"Somebody yelled 'gun!' and youths stampeded through the mall," Deputy Chief Terry Landrum told The Commercial Appeal.
Police in Aurora, Colorado, near Denver, evacuated a mall due to multiple skirmishes.
No one was seriously injured in the mall melees, which, during the panic, also prompted numerous false reports of gunfire.
“Once people start running in that area or chairs are getting knocked over, tables, that sort of thing, that echoes and it could resemble the sound of a gunshot to a lot of people,” Strepay said of the disturbance at Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville.
Despite what Fayetteville police said, many who were at the mall remain convinced they heard gunshots
“I’m not sure if anybody got shot, but I know he put the gun up in the air and shot up,” witness Javier Alejandro said.
Police found no property damage or evidence that anybody was shot, but two ambulances were on the scene Monday during the evacuation. Emergency officials said the ambulances had been called because of medical emergencies experienced by people evacuating the mall.
The mall is expected to reopen Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
In August, shoppers scrambled for exits and for cover amid reports of a shooting at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh. However, police said there was no evidence that any shots were ever fired in the mall.