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Melee at nation's largest mall leads to more security


This image taken from a YouTube video and aired on KARE 11 TV shows someone throwing a chair at people inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., on Monday.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- More security officers were patrolling the nation's largest mall on Tuesday after a series of fights among dozens of young adults and juveniles broke out Monday afternoon, the day after Christmas and one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Police arrested at least nine individuals for disorderly conduct after a fight that started in the Mall of America's food court spread throughout the mall, said Cmdr. Mark Stehlik with the Bloomington police department.

Mall officials briefly ordered a lockdown as shoppers fled into stores that shut their doors as those fighting rushed by.

Some witnesses said the melee had the feel of a "smash and grab" flash mob that knocked down shoppers and grabbed items from them as well as kiosks, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

"I was on the third-floor railing and saw a massive group of people" on the first floor, said Makenzie Shofner, 15, of Maple Plain, Minn. "It looked like they were trying to pull people's stuff out of their bags."

"A lot of parents (were) on their cell phones trying to find their kids," added Jennifer Reiland of Burnsville, Minn. "This was a harrowing experience for myself, my mother and my 5-year-old daughter."

Dan Jasper, a mall spokesman, said no significant injuries were reported but called the incident "disturbing."

"As a preventive measure we will ramp up security even more this week to make sure it doesn't happen again," Jasper said.

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At one point at least 30 police officers were on the scene to respond, restoring order inside the mall after an hour.

Fights continued outside the grounds for a brief time.

Reuters contributed to this report.