State News

Mall officials consider changes after melee

Posted July 27, 2008 6:21 p.m. EDT
Updated July 28, 2008 10:39 a.m. EDT

— As many as 300 people joined a melee that began inside a Raleigh mall and spilled outside the shopping center during the fight, police said Sunday.

Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said the gang-related brawl began inside Triangle Town Center Mall on Saturday night at about 8 p.m. Off-duty officers working at the mall requested assistance, and Wake County sheriff's deputies N.C. Highway Patrol troopers also responded

Sughrue said a 15-year-old was stabbed during the incident. He was taken to WakeMed and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. A police officer was also injured with a "significant" cut to his knee that he suffered during a chase. He was taken to Duke Raleigh Hospital for treatment and is expected to recover, Sughrue said.

Authorities said the fight was "gang-related," though Sughrue declined to say why they reached that conclusion. Raleigh police have previously said examples of gang-related activity include actions that would establish a gang's territory, suppress another gang or get revenge.

Seven people were arrested: Darryl Anthony Bobbitt, 18; Tyrell Eugene Brantley, 18; Christopher James Gamble, 17; Laquavis Oneal Jordan, 16; Javonnie Nicholson, 16; and Ricky Ladd Williams, 16. The seventh person was a 15-year-old whom authorities would not name.

The six older teenagers were each charged with inciting a riot. Some of them also face other charges, including second-degree trespassing, disorderly conduct, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, assault on a law enforcement officer, and engaging in an affray.

Gamble has been charged in the stabbing, authorities said.

Norma Williams said her son, Tyrell Brantley, was falsely accused. She said he was in the mall trying to get a job.

“He was in a store filling an application; he came out walked in the mall. Then he saw all the noise and people running. …When he goes out the door, he gets arrested,” Williams said.

It took about an hour for authorities to fully restore order.

Jennifer Jones, the mall's marketing director, said authorities decided to close the mall early. She said the mall operated on normal hours Sunday and that officials there are working to identify ways to prevent such an incident from happening again.

"Our main concern is the safety of our shoppers and our retailers," Jones said.

Security guards handed out memos to retailers on Sunday about the incident and about a meeting scheduled for later in the week.

Mall officials said among the options under review is a curfew for teenagers. Northgate Mall in Durham already has such a policy and security officials said it has been effective.  At Northgate, shoppers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult after 6 p.m. Paula Harris, marketing director at Northgate, said the "Shoppers First" program has been in place since 2003.