Hamilton Mall worker: ‘I should not have to fear walking out of work at night’
HAMILTON (Atlantic) — Video taken by the boyfriend of a salon worker who watched Saturday night's fight inside the Hamilton Mall shows chairs being tossed and teens running as police try to maintain control.
Jaymee Adams said she was trying to close up the salon when the fight broke out, which she said is typical for a Saturday night at the mall in the Mays Landing section of Hamilton Township.
"This goes on EVERY Saturday night at the mall, always a huge crowd of kids that are loud and obnoxious. It just so happens that this Saturday night chairs were thrown and people got hurt. Where are their parents?! And why is the mall not doing anything about it?! This has escalated and they saw it coming and chose not to do anything about it. I should not have to fear walking out of work at night," Adams wrote on her Facebook page.
Witnesses estimate upwards of 200 teens ran through the mall, threw chairs and started fight in an "event" police said was promoted on social media. Seven people were arrested in the incident, which drew a police response from several neighboring communities. One teenage girl was arrested earlier in the day for disorderly conduct, according to Hamilton police.
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Adams' video showed a large group of young people standing in the food court, watched by police. Suddenly they begin running toward a mall corridor, tossing chairs and shouting.
Police said there were smaller groups of teens gathered around the mall who began moving toward the food court area in the center of the mall.
"It just got really loud upstairs all of a sudden. Kids running up both sides of the escalators. Kids were coming down from upstairs covering their eyes because the police used pepper spray. Then it seemed to calm down, kids were leaving. Then all sudden round two started. It was crazy. Teenage boys pushing older adults who were coming down the escalator out of the way to get back upstairs," said Tammy Tozier of Cape May Court House, a witness to the incident.
Mall spokeswoman Crystal Rodriquez told New Jersey 101.5 that mall management is aware of fights in the mall, but admitted previous ones have not been as violent as Saturday's incident.
"We have a top-notch, fully staffed security team that is here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also bring in two or three Township of Hamilton police officers here on Friday and Saturday for an added measure of security," Rodriquez said.
Hamilton police detective Larry Fernan told the Press of Atlantic City that police and mall management met on Monday and said police presence would be increased.