A flash mob at a mall in Louisiana turned violent on Saturday night, prompting a frantic evacuation.
- (Photo: REUTERS/Chris Keane)
Around 200 young people gathered at the Baton Rouge mall, prompted by what police believe was a social media message announcing a "flash mob." The definition of a flash mob has changed over time though; its original invention typically involved a gathering of people to perform an act with no specific purpose at all.
Flash mobs have featured in movies like "Friends With Benefits" where an entire crowd of people invades Times Square in order to perform a dance routine, catching the crowd by surprise.
The surprise however, was pleasant on Saturday at around 6 pm when up to 200 teens caused something of a riot after a fight broke loose. The meeting took place on the second floor of the mall food court.
The intent of the mob is not yet clear, but witnesses at the mall suggested that the fight broke out almost immediately. One woman, who was at the mall with her son, said in an interview that as the fight escalated people began jumping and turning over tables according to the WWLTV.
"I grabbed my son and took off running, but all the doors to the stores were closed," she said to the local station. "I ran through a side door into the parking lot and ran around trying to find my car."
Panic ensued as some people wrongly assumed that there had been some sort of shooting.
"Saw people running and screaming I turned around a girl told me someone has a gun I started running with them," shopper Missy Melancon wrote on Facebook.
At least three police agencies responded to the incident. Thus far, up to ten people could face charges. The mall returned to regular business hours on Sunday.