MONROEVILLE (KDKA) — Police confirmed four arrests were made during an “incident involving several youths” at the Monroeville Mall on Monday.
The arrests were mostly for disorderly conduct.
A fight among a group of teens and young adults was initially confined to a small area of the Monroeville Mall early Monday evening, but the chaos and confusion quickly spread.
“I saw everything. Like, I heard people screaming and running,” Becca Wilhelm said.
“When we first walked in, there was a bunch of people there, like the canine dogs, all the police were there,” Hannah Pulit said. “And then we walked into Hollister, and we went to walk up to the front to look at more things, and then they were like, ‘You can go out at your own risk.’ … You had to walk around the entire mall [to get out].”
Christine D’Antonio’s Report:
Despite several witness accounts, mall spokesperson Stacey Keating tells KDKA the mall was never under lockdown. She says Dick’s Sporting Goods lowered its security gate, but no one was ever locked inside the mall.
Sources close to the investigation tell KDKA multiple juveniles were either held at the police substation at the mall or taken to the main headquarters. Port Authority buses were called for transport. Parents came to pick up many of the teens.
“They were just loaded inside the mall with security guards and everything. There was a ton,” Wilhelm said.
Police started implementing new safety initiatives at the mall after a huge brawl exactly two years ago on Dec. 26, 2014. There were several arrests and injuries that night.
Part of the Youth Escort Policy involves a message going out over the mall speakers at 6 p.m. saying anyone under the age of 18 who is not with an adult must leave the mall premises.
Witnesses say very few people complied with that message Monday evening.
On Tuesday, mall officials said they have additional security on hand due to large holiday crowds. Also, they plan to continue evaluating their security plans.