UPDATE: Fight breaks out at Hamilton Place Mall one week after riot
One week after a riot at Hamilton Place Mall, police responded to another fight on mall property.
UPDATE: One week after a riot at Hamilton Place Mall, police responded to another fight on mall property. It happened twenty minutes before the mall officially opened Saturday.
A video of the fight was shared with Channel 3. It shows five young men fighting in the hallway outside Barnes and Noble. No one was injured or arrested.
READ MORE | Aggravated 'riot' at Hamilton Place
A spokesperson with the Chattanooga Police Department said seven officers were dispatched to the mall when the call came in. By the time the first officer arrived, the fight had broken up.
“You don't expect something like that early in the morning anyway. But I don't really expect things like that at all,” Paula Hensel said.
Paula Hensel goes to Hamilton Place Mall each morning to walk. She was passing Barnes and Noble Saturday morning when a fight broke out. She said she ran into the store to call 911.
“I told them, 'I know there is police on the other end of the mall; can you send them down here quickly?'" Hensel said.
In the video, shared publicly on Facebook, you can see a bookstore employee lowering the gate in response to the fight. The bookstore and nearby Chick-fil-A were the only businesses open at 9:40 that morning. But by the time a police officer made it to the scene, the group of young men was gone.
“It didn't appear to be a big thing when they arrived," Hensel said. "Everyone kind of straightened themselves out.”
It is the second fight to occur on mall property in one week. Last week, a riot broke out following a fight, when police said David Ballard waved a gun inside the mall. On Saturday, Hensel was afraid another riot was about to begin.
“There were three of four people already on the floor, a group of people around them, looks like they were kicking and hitting one another,” Hensel added.
Hensel said what is happening inside the mall needs to stop. She doesn't want her kids or grandkids witnessing this violence.
“I was awfully aware because my daughter and grandchildren were coming for the Dr. Seuss event," Hensel explained. "I called them and asked them to wait a little bit later to come.”
Over the last week, Chattanooga Police have responded to Hamilton Place Mall 37 times. Police said many of those calls were for theft, deceptive practice or medical needs.
On Saturday, no one was escorted off the property or arrested. And no one has been charged in connection with the fight. For someone to be charged, a victim would have to press charges.
We reached out to CBL, which owns Hamilton Place Mall, to find out if additional security has been added in light of recent events. A spokesperson said CBL does not share security information to avoid compromising their system.
The mall's youth escort program is in effect on Fridays and Saturday, but it does not begin until 4:00 pm. This most recent event took place before the mall officially opened when the building is open for walkers.
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Kim Lyons with CBL properties confirmed they are aware of the incident that happened about 20 minutes before the mall opened at 9:40 a.m.
Channel 3 reached out to Lyons after a video was shared with Channel 3 showing a fight inside the mall.
Lyons was not familiar with the video that appears to show five young men fighting in the hallway outside Barnes and Noble. An employee of the bookstore, which opens at 9 a.m., can be seen lowering the gate in response to the fight.
Lyons said the fight lasted for less than a minute before security officers and police officers responded. She could not confirm the video shared with Channel 3 is video of the same incident mall security responded to or how many juveniles were involved in the incident.
Channel 3 asked why people were already inside the mall before it opened. Lyons said they open the doors before operating hours for mall walkers.
She was not aware of anyone being escorted off the property as a result. It’s also not clear if anyone was charged in the incident.
A spokesperson for the Chattanooga Police Department said additional information will be available Monday when call logs can be reviewed. That same spokesperson was able to confirm there was no call 911 page sent out Saturday for assistance at the mall.
"CPD did not receive a 911 page on anything at the mall today," CPD spokeswoman Elisa Myzal said.
Myzal said 911 pages are used for things like shootings, homicides, and bomb threats, not standard calls for service.
When asked about CBL’s youth escort policy, Lyons said it is not in effect until 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. That policy requires anyone under the age of 18 to have an escort while at Hamilton Place.