Raleigh, N.C. — A massive fight that involved hundreds of people and forced the evacuation of Triangle Town Center mall was gang related, Raleigh police said.
Four off-duty officers working at the mall reported a fight in progress and requested assistance around 8 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses told WRAL News that about 200 teenagers started yelling and fighting on the mall's upper level.
The melee poured outside the mall as the crowd spread out, and an estimated 200 and 300 people were involved at the height of the fight, police said.
On-duty Raleigh police officers, Wake County sheriff's deputies and state troopers responded to the fight and fully restored order around 9 p.m., police said. Witnesses said the fight lasted about 20 minutes, and police said no guns were pulled out during it.
Christopher James Gamble, 17, is accused of stabbing a 15-year-old boy in the buttocks during a fight outside the mall, Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. The victim was taken to WakeMed and and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
A police sergeant suffered a significant laceration on his knee during a foot chase, Sughrue said. The officer was transported to Duke Raleigh Hospital and was expected to recover.
Shoppers were asked to leave Triangle Town Center around 8 p.m., an hour before closing time, and mall security personnel had the facility closed by 8:40 p.m., said Jennifer Jones, the mall's marketing director.
"The genesis of the incident was gang related," Sughrue said in a release. Some of the participants in the fight are known to be associated with gangs, he said.
Raleigh police use the term "gang related" to delineate "an incident (that) occurred to further the purposes of the gang," according to an email from Sughrue. Such purposes could include "establishing a gang’s territory, gaining influence by suppressing another gang, or seeking revenge against another gang."
Sughrue stressed that those were only examples, not necessarily what prompted the fight at Triangle Town Center. He was not at liberty to discuss what prompted police to classify Saturday's fight as gang related.
Police charged six people in the fight:
- Darryl Anthony Bobbit, 18, with felony inciting a riot; resisting obstructing or delaying a public officer; and second-degree trespassing. He remains in jail under a $6,000 bond.
- Tyrell Eugene Brantley, 18, with felony inciting a riot and disorderly conduct. He remains in jail under a $8,000 bond.
- Gamble, with felony inciting a riot and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Gamble remains in jail under a $35,000 bond.
- Laquavis Oneal Jordan, 16, with felony inciting a riot. Jordan was released into the custody of his family on Sunday.
- Javonnie Nicholson, 16, with felony inciting a riot, assault on a law-enforcement officer and second-degree trespassing. Arrest warrants say that Nicholson jumped on and pushed a police officer trying to arrest her. She remains in jail under a $7,000 bond.
- Ricky Ladd Williams, 16, with felony inciting a riot and engaging in an affray. He remains in jail under a $10,000 bond.
All six suspects are scheduled to make their first court appearance at 9 a.m. Monday.
Police also had a 15-year-old boy in custody, who they said would be the subject of a juvenile petition. That measure is similar to a criminal complaint against an adult and brings the minor under the purview of the juvenile court system.
Williams was placed on probation in June for a common-law robbery in Wake County, according to state Department of Correction records.
The investigation into the mall fight continues, Sughrue said.
Jones said the Triangle Town Center opened at noon Sunday as scheduled.
“We will be in contact with the Raleigh Police Department to get more details and obviously, with the shopper in mind, making sure the safety is here,” Jones said.