Two people have sustained minor injuries after an autograph signing session at a Chicago mall. The incident followed a performance by the Mindless Behavior teen boy band.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 19 teenagers have been arrested after the incident that closed down Ford City Mall in the Southwest Side for a day.
17 people, aged 13 to 18, have been charged with mob action, a misdemeanor crime. One teenager has been arrested for battery, and another charged with criminal trespassing.
Two people, a juvenile and a CTA bus driver have been injured during the incident. Both suffered minor wounds and were transported to nearby hospitals.
Chicago Fire Department Chief Joe Roccasalva describes that the police were called in to investigate a brawl that was going inside the shopping center at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday.
After they shut down the mall, 100 to 200 people continued the quarrel outside, damaging cars in the parking lot by jumping on them. Some of the vehicles were stationed during this time, while others were moving, with drivers trying to get away from the scene.
About 1,000 people were at the mall for the band's concert and autograph signing event. Most of them were girls between the ages of 6 and 13, accompanied by their parents.
A group of older teenagers entered the mall 45 minutes after the band left, with the intent of causing a disturbance.
“A group of older youths came into the mall with the intent of causing havoc and chaos and were running through the mall, screaming, yelling and so forth,” says the facility's Senior General Manager, John Sarama.
“Ford City is a family-oriented mall. [...] We have not had an incident like this [in the past], and I’m still in a little bit of a state of shock actually,” he adds.