JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chaos unfolded over the weekend outside the Regency Square Mall as teens damaged property and blocked traffic.
It happened late Saturday evening after the annual carnival held at the mall wrapped up. Videos uploaded to social media platforms show the disturbance spilling over into the streets.
Despite multiple tips to the News4Jax newsroom, a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said no reports were generated about the incident and no calls for service could be found.
That might come as a surprise to passersby who could not get past the area or those whose businesses were impacted by the unruly crowds.
News4Jax spoke with a man whose relative was caught in the middle of it. He said his loved one was inside one of the nearby businesses, terrified by what was going on.
“She called, crying,” the man said. “We couldn’t really do anything because the whole place was on lockdown. They wouldn’t let anyone in or out.”
The man said his loved one had to lock the doors on their business for safety. That was after a group of teens swarmed a Wingstop restaurant, upending tables and dumping drinks on the floor.
A manager for that business said the video makes the incident look worse than it was, but he said his manager told him to lock the doors to the restaurant afterward.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said all businesses can do in a situation like this is to lock their doors and wait for it to end. He said no one should ever get involved.
“This behavior is totally inexcusable. Totally,” Jefferson said. “I don’t know what started it or how it went into the other businesses across the street. Someone should have been arrested.”
The question now is what started all this fighting? Some wonder whether it might have been a stunt for attention on social media.
“If you think you’re going to be enshrined in the social media hall of fame with this video, then you’re wrong,” Jefferson said. “You’ll be enshrined in jail.”