INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A fight involving hundreds of teens broke out at the mall in Independence this weekend. The police department sounded the alarm for help from authorities across the metro over the weekend.
The incident happened Saturday evening when Independence Police said about 300 minors caused problems at the Independence Center near 39th Street.
They called for a metro-wide agency assist.
“It was just crazy to see all the cop cars and just know that the mall is a place where a lot of the people go shopping,” Cody Keele, an employee at the Independence Rally House, said.
Keele was working across the street when he heard the sirens and saw more than a dozen patrol vehicles pull up at the mall entrance.
He had no idea it was caused by about 300 minors getting into multiple fights.
“It’s just jaw dropping,” Keele said.
Police, on the other hand, said this isn’t the first large gathering at the mall that’s turned violent.
Authorities said some groups have become unruly to the point of shutting down restaurants, obstructing traffic and damaging property.
With more than 40 reported disturbances in this area this year, police are warning parents of a “zero tolerance” policy at Independence Center.
“It’s just something that we obviously want to avoid and keep as safe of an area as possible, along with just making it a good experience for our guests and our community as well,” Keele said.
Police believe parents are either unaware of the issue or teens are getting dropped off — some even taking Ubers or taxis — leaving them unsupervised.
Police want everyone to know they will hold both teens and their parents/guardians accountable when they’re called for a criminal complaint.
On Saturday, several teens were detained until parents arrived. Police said one minor was apprehended for “interfering with police.” That person was released to their parent at the scene and referred to “youth court.”