No arrests after 2,000 teens fight at Louisville mall
Police say a parental escort policy — similar to those found at other malls nationwide— could prevent future situations similar to a Saturday night disturbance at the Mall St. Matthews that required assistance from four police departments and forced the shopping center to close early.
That night, up to 2,000 people — mostly unsupervised juveniles between middle school and high school age — disrupted the post-holiday shopping weekend by causing fights and exhibiting unruly behavior throughout the mall, said Officer Dennis McDonald, a spokesman with the St. Matthews Police Department.
The department received an initial call for service to the mall around 7 p.m., followed quickly by dozens of others as disorderly conduct by small groups of youths increased in the level of violence and gained participation, McDonald said.
"Once this starts happening, kind of a mob mentality takes over and it starts feeding on itself," McDonald said Sunday. "That's clearly what happened last night. We're still looking into whether or not some of this was pre-planned, whether there was a gang element involved."
McDonald said that while police will continue investigating the situation, the best way to prevent future disturbances is to create a policy at the mall that requires juveniles under a certain age to be accompanied by a parent.
"We're kind of at the mercy of mall policies," McDonald said. "... By and large, there's not a lot that law enforcement can do to curb these kind of problems. It's better addressed by the mall itself, by mall management, having policies in place that can address it."
A spokesperson for the mall said Sunday that the business is not yet ready to comment, but McDonald said the police department plans to meet with members of the site's management next week to discuss mall safety.