The Manchester Police Department is still trying to figure out what led to a series of fights that sent hundreds fleeing from the Shoppes at Buckland Hills on Monday night.
Seven people were arrested after an altercation between eight and 10 teenagers inside the mall around 5:30 p.m. Police said that incident led to several other fights.
Police charged 20-year-old Raekwon Gaines and 19-year-old Solomon Wilson-Frame, both of Hartford, were charged with second-degree breach of peace. Wilson-Frame was also charged with first-degree criminal trespass and interfering with an officer.
A 15-year-old boy, a 15-year-old girl, two 16-year-old boys and a 14-year-old boy also face various charges including second-degree breach of peace, first-degree criminal trespass and interfering with an officer. All the teens were from Hartford and police did not release their names due to their age.
Several hundred teenagers were inside the mall at the time of the fights on Monday evening, according to investigators.
A Manchester police officer was assaulted while trying to break up the first fight, however he did not sustain any significant injuries and did not require medical attention, police said.
"When our officers tried to deal with one of the fights in particular, they got punched in the head, just a very chaotic scene," Manchester Police Capt. Chris Davis previously told Eyewitness News.
The incident caused authorities to close the mall doors three hours early. The Shoppes at Buckland Hills reopened at its normal time of 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
"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," the mall administration said in a statement posted on their Facebook page on Monday.
There were several other similar incidents like this one reported in malls across the country, in places like Arizona, Cleveland, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Jersey and North Carolina.
In response to these fights, the Hartford Police Department is having extra patrols throughout the capital city.
Police in Connecticut said they are continuing to "identify other participants as well as whether it is related to other incidents yesterday at malls throughout the country."
Detectives are looking at various cell phone videos, along with surveillance footage from the mall to investigate.
Internet safety expert Scott Driscoll said many kids today are using secret social media apps and things can spread like wildfire.
"If something gets out there and someone likes it and two people forward it, a simple concept can spread out of control,” Driscoll said.
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