Social Media Could Be To Blame For Fights At Malls

by Brooke Rogers | CBS11

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FORT WORTH (CBS11) – Police said social media could have been to blame for a melee at Hulen Mall in Fort Worth and others across the country Monday.

A witness who showed the fight live on social media talked to CBS11.

“I heard a lot of commotion. I saw a lot of kids running, and they actually turned the escalators off so you had to run upstairs to see what was going on,” said Brianna Austin, who was making a post-Christmas shopping trip.

Austin said she found her way to the food court and began capturing the chaos on Facebook Live.

“There were people throwing punches,” she said. “Parents were grabbing their kids, getting them out of the way. I remember seeing some little kids crying. Some parents couldn’t find their children.”

Security closed the mall early and Austin later learned up to 150 middle and high schoolers had been involved.

Police believe it may have been organized over social media.

At other North Texas malls Tuesday, mall officials said they were aware of the situation and shoppers reported more security than usual.

“A lot of lines, but I did see an increased police presence from last week,” said shopper Kris Cousins. “They were looking out, making sure that nothing could start that would grow and increase and cause problems.”

No one was injured in the Hulen Mall fights, but Austin said she hopes the teens involved learn a lesson.

“You gotta think more about your actions and what you’re doing, because somebody could have seriously gotten hurt,” she said.

Fort Worth police said at least two teens were issued citations for fighting in public.

Police said they’ll be studying what happened with the hope of preventing similar incidents in the future.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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