ORANGE PARK, Fla. - A video of a huge fight Saturday inside the Orange Park Mall is going viral.
Deputies were called to the mall at 6:15 p.m. Saturday after the brawl broke out. The scene was chaotic as the 30 or so combatants, who appeared to be mostly teenage girls, brawled. The fight continued for several minutes before the participants dispersed.
Shoppers at the mall who saw the video were shocked and outraged that it could happen locally.
“That’s not right. It’s the way they’re growing up,” Lamont Wilson said. “It’s what they see.”
“That’s the way things are,” an unnamed shopper said. “People aren’t comfortable anymore. Don’t have any family life. That’s why I don’t go there.”
John Westbrook, general manager at the Orange Park Mall, issued a statement about the incident:
The safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is our top priority. We are working closely with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office as they investigate this incident.
Retired Jacksonville sheriff’s officer and News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said, sadly, this type of fight is a trend that has been happening across the country, often in malls.
Smith said these type of fights are often organized beforehand through social media and involve teenagers who ordinarily aren’t in trouble.
Shoppers, store owners and employees are advised to never get involved because the crowds are so big that they can be overwhelming. Smith advises to let the police handle the situation.
“It’s best to not intervene or to break it up because not only are the people you’re trying to stop fighting, but the people around them may turn on you also because they don’t want it to end, and you could have a large number of kids attacking just the one or two people trying to break it up,” Smith said.
The fight resulted in five arrests, including one adult. Authorities said the charges range from resisting arrest to battery on law enforcement and trespassing after warning.
There were no injuries reported in the fight.
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