Police arrived to the mall after 7 p.m. for a call of a possible fight near the food court, but the incident appeared over, said Lou Thurston, a spokesman for Newport News Police Department. As they were investigating, officers were called back to the food court area and discovered a "huge" crowd and people fighting, he said.
As officers began to take people into custody, the crowd turned on police, Thurston said. No officers were injured and no gunshots were fired, he said. Two people, an employee and a customer, called medics for minor injuries, Thurston said, adding no one was taken to the hospital.
The mall made the decision to close because a "flash mob" turned into a disturbance, mall marketing director Mikia Ross said, adding mall policy discourages such large groups congregating. The mall will be open as usual Friday, she said. Customers were notified of the closure via telephone and police helped guide patrons from the mall, she said.
An 18-year-old man was charged with trespassing, a 16-year-old male and a 16-year-old female were charged with disorderly conduct and two 14-year-old males were charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct, Thurston said. An 18-year-old woman who was detained was released, he said.
Evelyn Maldonado, 19, of Newport News, said she was working in the food court when she saw teenagers screaming, "bumping" into each other and knocking down signs. She ran to the back of the business after going through a similar disturbance at the mall last year, she said.
"I was scared," Maldonado said.