Viral Brawl Shuts Down Southern California Mall, 2 People Arrested

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
March 19, 2024California
Viral Brawl Shuts Down Southern California Mall, 2 People Arrested
Police officers run in downtown Long Beach during a protest on May 31, 2020. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

Police shut down a southern California mall following a fight that was part of a viral social media meetup.

The Long Beach Police Department deployed officers to The Pike Outlets in downtown in anticipation of a large mob of teens on Saturday night.

Police Chief Wally Hebieish said officers were prepared for “hundreds of juveniles” to show up at the shopping center as part of the planned, widely advertised meetup.

“Our officers were prepared and extremely visible throughout the downtown area. In addition to spreading available resources throughout various other parts of the city, we found it necessary to declare a Stage 2 Tactical Alert, meaning we held over our day shift officers and deployed our afternoon shift officers quickly to ensure we were able to support the group activity in downtown, as well as respond to calls for service citywide,” the police chief said in a statement.

The chaotic mall melee was captured on video and showed two females punching and kicking each other as a large mob of teens swarmed them in an open area of the shopping center. Some witnesses cheered on the fight while others recorded it on their cell phones.

Police officers pushed through the crowd to break up the altercation.

“At one point, a fight broke out, and officers immediately intervened by running into a large crowd, taking control of the situation, and arresting both suspects involved,” the police chief said.

The two suspects are described as an adult woman and a juvenile female.

It remains unclear what led to Saturday night’s violence.

The shopping center was closed early to avoid any other disturbances. Officers announced that all guests must clear out of the mall and warned that anyone who did not comply with the order would be arrested.

Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson confirmed no businesses were vandalized thanks to the “swift response” of officers.

“Violence of any kind is unacceptable. We’re committed to keeping Long Beach safe and will not tolerate violence in our community,” the mayor posted in a statement on X.

Less than an hour after chaos calmed down at the mall, police responded to a shooting near the same shopping center. Police arrived to find a 16-year-old boy suffering a gunshot wound to the leg. The victim remains in stable condition, and police are still looking for the suspect.

It is unclear if the two disturbances were related.

Saturday’s mall brawl and shooting follow a wave of recent violence in the city of Long Beach. Earlier that same day, shots were fired outside the bars and restaurants along Pine Avenue.

Just blocks away, a street vendor was brutally stabbed after helping a woman who was robbed and assaulted earlier this month.

Additionally, a pair of recent killings have left residents and business owners on edge.

Johnny Santos, an off-duty City employee, and father of two, was shot and killed during a dispute on Feb. 18.

Earlier this month, 20-year-old Adrian Hernandez was stabbed to death during a fight at Dave’s Hot Chicken restaurant in the same Belmont Shore neighborhood.

The Long Beach Police Department and officials have since met with the community to address the city’s ongoing violence. Another town hall meeting about the string of violence will be held in the next few weeks, according to city officials.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.