MANCHESTER -- A total of seven arrests were made during a huge fight that broke out at the Shoppes at Buckland Hills in Manchester, causing the mall to shut down early Monday night.
Manchester Police said hundred of teens were involved, and that several fights broke out. The mall was shut down shortly before 6 p.m. and cleared out in response. It was supposed to remain open until 9 p.m.
According to Manchester Police Capt. Chris Davis, it's typical to see more teens in the mall during the holidays. "Kids are out of school. A lot of them aren't hanging out in the streets so they come here, typically, and hang out at the mall."
The mall released the following statement Tuesday morning:
Buckland Hills has closed for the evening. The well-being of our shoppers and retailers is our number one priority, and we take matters very seriously that disrupt the peaceful, safe environment we strive to create for our community. We are working closely with law enforcement and direct all inquiries to the Manchester Police Department. The shopping center will be open Tuesday.
According to police, about 8-10 teens started fighting at around 5:30 p.m., and officers who were already at the mall broke up the fight. Then, several hundred teens at various other locations throughout the mall started fighting at the same time.
Davis said some veteran Manchester officers who were at Buckland Hills on Monday night noticed more teens than usual. "They just kind of sensed that something was amiss, previous to the fights actually starting. So it was just kind of a sixth-sense by some of our officers."
Because it was such a chaotic situation with hundreds of people inside the mall, a request for mutual aid assistance was put out to surrounding jurisdictions. State Police and East Hartford, Vernon, South Windsor and Glastonbury police all responded to assist.
Arrested during the incident were Raekwon Gaines, 20, of Hartford, who was charged with second-degree breach of peace; Solomon Wilson-Frame, 21, of Hartford, who was charged with first-degree criminal trespass, second-degree breach of peace, and interfering with an officer; a 15-year-old male from Hartford charged with breach of peace; a 14-year-old male from Hartford, charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer; a 15-year-old female from Hartford , charged with breach of peace and first-degree criminal trespass; a 16-year-old male from Hartford, charged with breach of peace, first-degree criminal trespass and interfering with an officer; and a 16-year-old male from Hartford, charged with first-degree criminal trespass and breach of peace.
One Manchester officer was assaulted while trying to break up the first fight. His injuries weren't significant and didn't require medical attention.
Police said no weapons were used in the fights, and the fights don't appear to be gang related. Police are investigating with mall management to try to identify more of those involved and whether it is related to other incidents Monday at malls throughout the country.
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