As a rule, I pay scant attention to social media rumors. But a video clip circulating Sunday on Facebook showing a nasty altercation at Lynnhaven Mall appears to be authentic. The rampage was bad enough that the mall was reportedly forced to close early Saturday night.
The footage shows a fight involving a throng of teenaged girls and mall security. In the short clip, it appears that a guard is on the ground being pummeled by at least one of the punks. It seems this took place inside near the main entrance. (You can see a “Verizon” sign reflected in the glass near the ruckus).
Calls to the Virginia Beach Police on Sunday for details were mostly fruitless. They confirmed that police were called to the mall at about 7:30 Saturday, but other than that they would release no details because — get this — “It isn’t breaking news.”
Of course, it was breaking news on Saturday, but because we didn’t phone while the event was unfolding, the officer I spoke with Sunday said we’d have to wait until Monday to call for details.
Don’t you just love government factotums?
Memo to Police Chief Paul Neudigate: Fix this. Yes, you’ve only been on the job since October but members of the media need access to accurate information 24/7. Crimes rarely happen during bankers’ hours. This is a public safety issue and the people of Virginia Beach have a right to know if hooliganism is taking place at the city’s most popular shopping mall.
Mall security was of no use, either. They refused to comment on the incident.
Here’s what we do know, from a WAVY TV-10 news brief: Lynnhaven Mall closed early Saturday night due to “disruptive teens” who “kept getting into fights.” There were no reports of shootings or serious injuries.
A source inside the police department, who was not authorized to speak, told me that Lynnhaven Mall fell victim to what this officer described as “mob behavior.” Large groups of young people were fighting throughout the mall, I was told. Stores were locked for fear of being swarmed and some shops locked employees inside for their own safety.
So much for the season of peace on earth goodwill toward men.
When I reached him Sunday evening, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer confirmed that there were fights — plural — at Lynnhaven Mall that night and that the shopping center closed early, although he didn’t have the exact time of the closure.
“I have information that there were a number of incidents involving youths at Lynnhaven Mall,” Dyer said by phone. “I don’t believe there were any serious injuries but this is a cause of major concern.”
You bet it is.
This column is republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.There are currently no comments highlighted.