A massive crowd of brawling teenagers sparked a stampede at a Louisiana mall this weekend, leading police to evacuate the shopping center and shut it down early, the Advocate reports.
More than 200 teens were in the Mall of Louisiana’s food court when a fight broke out just before 6 p.m. on Saturday, although it wasn’t clear how many people were actually fighting.
16-year-old Jerry Johnson was at the mall when the riot began, and at one point he and his friend even thought there had been a shooting.
“This is about the craziest thing I ever seen,” he reportedly said.
The Advocate continues:
Shane Ash, 30, of Central, said he was with his wife, daughter and parents in the Build-A-Bear when they heard “a stampede of people above us.”
As that was happening Ash said, the cashier closed the gate to the front of the store and brought everyone to the very rear of the store for about 15 minutes.
He said he walked to the gate out of curiosity.
“For about 10 minutes, there were still people running everywhere,” Ash said, adding half of the people in the crowd were “screaming in terror and half were giggling and running like it was a joke.”
Thankfully, no injuries were reported. However, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s office says it plans to charge a number of people.
Witnesses say the trouble began after Instagram users posted an invitation to their followers on social media, telling them to come and meet in person at the mall.
It supposedly wasn’t intended to be unruly, just an opportunity to meet with online acquaintances.
Police corralled unaccompanied youths until frantic parents arrived to pick them up.
“Never been that scared in my life,” witness Juston D’Nea Millet wrote on Facebook after the incident. “People were running everywhere. It was like a movie, but you were in it.”
ABC’s “Good Morning America” has more:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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