Three teens booked for Arden Fair chaotic disturbance www.privateofficer.com
Sacramento CA Dec 28 2012 police have released the photos and names of teens they suspect caused a frightening disturbance at Arden Fair mall last night.
Pushing and shoving by a group at the mall Wednesday prompted shoppers to flee and the false rumor of gunfire to spread.
Police said early this morning they suspect that Dremon O’Deal, 19, and Louis Santiago, 18, caused the disturbance. They were booked into Sacramento County Jail.
A 15-year-old was also arrested. His name was not released because he is a juvenile.
The initial calls – which began flooding into the 911 call center shortly before 5 p.m. – drew a massive response from Sacramento police, county sheriff’s deputies and mall security. Officials quickly confirmed that reports of a shooting and of a person armed with a gun were unfounded, said police spokesman Officer Doug Morse.
In less than an hour, the mall was open for business again, though the crowds had subsided considerably.
Police questioned a handful of teens whose behavior appeared to have prompted the chaos. They were believed to have been part of a group of at least 20 juveniles seen running through the mall, knocking over signs, pushing over shoppers and creating what Morse described as an “absurd disturbance.”
The disturbance immediately led to confusion, fear and a rush of shoppers exiting the mall.
Morse said the initials calls of shots fired represented a “worst-case scenario” for police, sending dozens of officers racing to the scene.
“Reports like this are very serious,” he said. “In these times, it’s what we all dread in our community.”
Morse applauded the mall’s security system, which includes a contract with off-duty, uniformed Sacramento police officers. He said that relationship helped officers quickly assess the situation and dispute the erroneous reports.
By 5:30 p.m., lockdowns had been lifted and stores were opening back up for business.
Rachel Hooper, 31, said she was shopping in Nordstrom when “all of a sudden, out of nowhere” security officers flooded the store, locked the doors and kept people from using the escalators.
After about 15 minutes, shoppers were allowed out of the store and into the main mall area.
Hooper said she could see other stores locked down, with employees waiting for the green light from police to open up. Some seemed hesitant even when police assured them it was safe, she said.
Hooper said she didn’t know what was going on until she checked Twitter for updates. She was relieved to learn there hadn’t been a shooting.
“Thankfully, (it was) just a lot of confusion, I think,” she said.
Reached by phone, an employee at Abercrombie & Fitch said the store was locked down briefly after people were heard screaming. She said a mall security officer directed the store’s employees to lock the doors and move people to the rear of the store. The store remained locked for about 10 minutes, said the employee, who did not give her name.
Once employees were told the incident was under control, customers were ushered out of the store.