DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. — A brawl between teens at a metro Atlanta mall prompted a stern message to parents from a local police department.
Douglasville police responded to the Arbor Place Mall and Regal movie theater over the weekend.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, the department cleared up rumors of a shooting at the mall. Police said they found no evidence of gunfire or someone getting shot; however, they are investigating other activities that happened.
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Videos circulating on social media show groups getting into a fight at the mall. In the recording, teens are seen shoving, punching and yelling on the second floor of the mall.
Channel 2′s Brian Mims went to the Arbor Place Mall on Wednesday and spoke with shoppers about the fight.
One shopper who did not want to be identified told Mims they were outside the mall when the fight broke out and saw people running.
Another shopper, Tonya Plourde said she learned about the fight from social media.
“It makes you want to stay away for sure,” Plourde told Channel 2 Action News. “It frustrates me with the lack of supervision. What are my children actually doing and what are they getting into? It’s just something that starts at home, I feel like.”
A shopper named Kelly, who declined to give her last name, said she won’t let the brawl deter her from shopping at Arbor Place.
“This is something that is not normal or regular,” she said. “I didn’t feel unsafe today.”
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Police said they want to remind parents to watch over what their children are doing, where they go and who they are with.
“A situation that is seemingly innocent can quickly turn negative as seen over this past weekend. As parents, think first about allowing your children to enter into a situation that is extremely crowded. Are there chaperones? Is there security or supervision? Peaceful situations can quickly turn chaotic,” the department wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.
Douglasville police said they know it’s not just happening in their city, but other parts of metro Atlanta, too.
The department particularly raised concerns about what children are posting on social media.
“There are those who do things for attention to see how many “likes” they can get when they post video, whether it be fighting, creating an uproar in a crowd of people, or any other number of things while they film it,” police wrote.
Police ended their message urging anyone to call 911 if they notice a crowd is getting out of control to stop it before it escalates.
“The mall security officers and theater security are not there to raise your children. It is your responsibility to raise your children and ensure their safety.”
Stacey Keating, a mall spokesperson, called it “an isolated incident.” She said the mall has extensive security and “an excellent relationship with Douglasville police.” The mall does have a chaperone policy: On Friday and Saturday after 4 p.m., anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older.
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