LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Mall St. Matthews has been closed for the night after several disturbances. Those incidents may have involved as many as 1,000 to 2,000 teens, according to the St. Matthews Police Department.
There has been no confirmation of shots fired inside the mall, although some were reported, and no injuries or arrests have been reported.
Police first responded to the mall around 7 p.m. Saturday in response to numerous unruly youths. According to the SMPD, there were several fights inside the mall and those altercations may have then spread outside.
"We had no indication that anything like this was going to happen at Mall St. Matthews," said Dennis McDonald of the SMPD. "(We) responded to a disturbance, then we began to respond to numerous disturbances inside, and outside, of the mall."
During the disturbances some store owners attempted to close, but in some cases juvenile patrons refused to leave. In some cases, stores were used as safe havens for those trying to escape the chaos.
Eventually, management decided to close the entire mall early.
Several law enforcement agencies, including the SMPD, the Louisville Metro Police Department, the Jeffersontown Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, then converged on the mall along with K-9s and a helicopter. Cellphone videos taken during that time show hundreds of youths running out of the west end of the mall, near the movie theater. According to the SMPD, several officers called for assistance outside the theater and theater doors were locked, but the auditoriums weren't evacuated.
Extra TARC buses also were dispatched to the area to help clear out the crowds. As the mall closed, however, many of the youths dispersed to other businesses in the area, according to SMPD. When that occurred businesses around the mall also were encouraged to close up until things were under control.
Things began to settle down in the area around 9:30 p.m.
According to SMPD there has been an "enhanced" police presence at the mall for the last couple of weeks.