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MOA day-after Christmas melee "most likely" random

Posted by: under Department stores, Malls, Retail Updated: February 15, 2012 - 1:53 PM

As it turns out,  the most violent disturbance at the Mall of America in 15 years was just another teenage fight that quickly spiraled out of control.

Bloomington police are still investigating the Dec. 26 melee but officials now think it was "most likely" random, said deputy chief Rick Hart.

Mall of America officials referred questions to the Bloomington Police.

The YouTube footage of the melee that quickly spread throughout the mall led credence to the theory the fight was premeditated, perhaps fueled by social media.

Earlier that day, rumors spread on social media that rappers Lil Wayne and Drake would perform at the MOA. Teenagers flock to the mall. A fight breaks out in the food court. Minutes later, teenagers are throwing fists and chairs at one another.

MOA officials were so caught off guard by the fight that they also initially suspected the brawl was organized via Twitter and Facebook. A "flash mob" with more sinister intentions perhaps? 

Adding to the confusion was the mall's initial decision, which it quickly reversed, to lock down the property. Eventually, some stores closed early on one of  the year's busiest shopping days.

All in all, 10 people were arrested for disorderly conduct, including four juveniles: a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds.

Hart, the spokesman, said police are still working with the mall to identify additional suspects. Those already arrested could still face more serious charges, including rioting, a gross misdemeanor, and assault, a felony.

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