Police: Smash mob connected to house party

YouTube video shows teens throwing food, merchandise around Walmart

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A YouTube video shows hordes of young people enter a Walmart on Lem Turner Road, toss around merchandise and cause a major disruption late Saturday night.

Jacksonville police said they caused $1,500 in damage. Walmart is working with investigators to try and track down who is responsible.

What's commonly called "smash mobs" are a growing phenomena.

The video was taken down by one user and re-posted by another. Before it was taken down Tuesday afternoon, one of the videos inside the Walmart received more than 12,500 comments.

Jasmine Smalls, 17, said a lot people are talking about the video. Smalls said she heard it discussed Tuesday morning at Murray Hill Charter High School.

"They were just saying they were throwing food in Walmart and stuff," Smalls said. "I heard about it today in class."

"The kids weren't saying anything. It was the adults talking about it," she added. "That they were throwing food and basically messing Walmart up."

Smalls lives across the street from a boy who posted the Walmart video on YouTube. Seventeen-year-old J'quan Jarrell posted the video, then removed it from his profile page.

No one answered the door at his Sunnybrooke Avenue home Tuesday.

Police said the destruction caused at Walmart about 11:30 p.m. Saturday may be connected to a large house party where a shooting may have occurred about two miles away. Police reports show a house party was broken up by police on Sampson Road. Several minutes later, police were called to the Walmart. By the time the officer got there, most of the people involved had already left.

A spokesman for Walmart said the store continues to work with investigators to find the people responsible. Walmart issued this statement Tuesday:

"The actions of these teenagers were deplorable and put at risk the safety of innocent bystanders. We're committed to assisting law enforcement in any way we can to help identify the people responsible for the commotion, including the acts of vandalism and theft that occurred at our store."

The store also said that in regard to why its associates did not get involved, "We would never want to put our associates or customers in harm's way by actively engaging with an unruly crowd. Our associates did exactly what they are trained to do -- they notified authorities who are better equipped and trained to respond and handle situations such as this."

Channel 4 crime analyst Ken Jefferson watched the video and said it's lucky no one was hurt.

"They could have easily been stampeded, they could have been robbed," Jefferson said. "They could have been physically assaulted. All sorts of things could have happened. The best thing the manager did was dial 911 and back up."

No one has been arrested.

Anyone with any information about those involved in the smash mob or house party is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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