(CNN) – Mayhem at the mall. Chaotic clashes and food court fights and it wasn’t at just one mall. More than a dozen malls across the United States, in virtually every corner of the country. What caused all of the chaos?
At shopping malls around the country, day-after-Christmas crowds trying to find the best bargains of the year, turned shopping adventures into a mass exodus, fearing the worst.
Steven Heller, an Arizona Mall Shopper said, “About three ladies came running in our direction and screaming.”
The incidents all occurring within hours of each other. The facts seemed to play out in the same way at every mall. Tweets show that as the events were unfolding.
Initial reports at a majority of malls were “shots fired.” Reports of weapons were false but instilled that initial fear for holiday shoppers, who were scared for their life and just trying to get to safety.
Heller said, “I honestly assumed they would be followed by a guy with an automatic weapon… just mass casualties”
Cell phone video from Aurora, Illinois shows people rushing down escalators to find an exit. The same thing in Long Island, New York
Edgar Bravo, a New York Mall Shopper said, “We were actually in the pink store a lot of people were rushing in there. I was with my son and my wife. My son fell down people almost ran over him it was pretty intense.”
While this is happening, fights break out in mall food courts and in Aurora, Colorado large numbers of people seem to already know what is going to happen.
Chris Amsler, an Aurora Police Officer said, “Approximately 100 people had gathered in the food court when one of our officers was attempting to make an arrest of two people who were fighting the crowd began to circle our officers so our officers had to call for help.”
Aurora investigators believe there was a social media nexus. Officer Amsler said, “The investigation revealed how this all started was actually from social media. There was something going around on social media about a fight that was going to take place here at the town of aurora which drew these people who were up to good no good to our mall.”
Were these disturbances, all within a few hours of each other, coincidence or intentionally planned to instill fear within shoppers around the country?