Mall St. Matthews shut down Saturday night after police respond - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Mall St. Matthews shut down Saturday night after police respond to numerous "riots"

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mall St. Matthews on Shelbyville Road was shut down Saturday night after police say they had to respond to several disturbances involving teens. 

St. Matthews Police say officers who were already working at the mall responded to a disturbance at around 7 p.m. 

The disturbance escalated and the officers began receiving calls about several other disturbances, according to St. Matthews Police Public Information Officer Dennis McDonald. 

"To say that it was a riot, that would probably be accurate," McDonald said. 

St. Matthews police say there were 1,000 to 2,000 juveniles at the mall Saturday.. 

"Quite honestly, they became overwhelmed with the number of calls they were getting," McDonald explained. "They requested assistance from additional officers and at that point, things continued to escalate." 

Authorities say 40 to 50 officers responded from different agencies including Louisville Metro Police, Jeffersontown Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. LMPD's helicopter was also assisting in the investigation.  

We're told there were numerous fights, kids running through the mall and kids running through stores. 

"We do have some reports that store managers, store operators, at some point decided that they had seen enough and when they attempted to close their store, there were juveniles and other people who were refusing to leave," McDonald said. 

Police also say there were reports of shots fired but they have not been confirmed. 

McDonald tell us officers have had issues with kids at the mall before but nothing to this extent. 

"Throughout Christmas season, we've had officers detailed to mall, inside the mall and outside of the mall. We've had instances of disturbances, those disturbances were quickly handled, and were put to rest. This was something we try to account for but we didn't foresee this kind of thing happening," he said. 

Right now police say they don't think the chaos was planned. 

"I believe this was random," McDonald told WDRB News."I believe this was a byproduct of juveniles congregating and there being some disturbances growing out of that, fights if you will, those kinds of things and escalating out of control. As quick as we would get there, they would disperse, move to another location and what we've tried to do is continue to keep them moving. Either toward home or mass transportation." 

Police say the kids involved are mostly middle school to high school age and that they were communicating through social media. 

The law enforcement agencies that responded were broken into zones along Shelbyville Road to disperse crowds. 

St. Matthews Police say authorities got control of the situation at around 9:30 p.m. 

According to police, the mall will open on time Sunday. 

There were no arrests and no reported injuries, according to McDonald. 

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