Large crowds of fighting teens at the Westfield Trumbull Mall caused police to call in reinforcements after the juveniles kept coming back inside after being expelled.
The incident began around 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14, when police responded to the mall for reports of several large fights involving knives, said Lt. Brian Weir, of the Trumbull Police.
Although there was no confirmation of weapons involved, responding officers found large crowds of teens throughout the shopping center, many of whom were disorderly, loud, disruptive, and interfering with the general public who were shopping, Weir said.
As officers began to escort individuals out of the center, other disturbances began at various locations elsewhere inside the building.
Due to the large number of teenagers who were creating disturbances throughout the expansive shopping center, additional officers from the Bridgeport Police Department and the State Police were requested in order to regain order inside, Weir said.
Weir said GBT buses were also dispatched to provide transportation away from the mall for those involved, but many of the youths remained at the mall for several hours, despite the efforts of the police.
Officers were frustrated by the crowds of teens who repeatedly circled back into the building after being expelled.
Weir said three girls, ages 13, 14, and 15, all of Bridgeport were arrested and charged with breach of peace when they refused to leave the area and began fighting in the presence of shoppers and officers in the Food Court.
The girls also fought with officers and one spit on a trooper who had been assisting with crowd control. This 15-year-old was also charged with assault on an officer; all three were later released to the custody of their guardians with a promise to appear in Bridgeport Juvenile Court on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Recent meetings between town officials, including the police, and the new mall managers had just established a new cooperative working relationship and they will now begin discussions for how to best address this reoccurring issue, he added.
Trumbull Police Chief Michael Lombardo said the department will be reviewing the appropriate response to these incidents and are also encouraging the mall managers and their security guards to enforce the code of conduct that has been established on the property for many years.
“This is a large facility that attracts large crowds of teenagers every weekend," Lombardo said. "Conflicts are bound to occur at times, so we will dedicate whatever resources are needed and respond when necessary."
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