The holidays can bring out the best -- and the worst -- in people. Up to 2,000 people, many teenagers, were caught up in a chain reaction of brawling post-Christmas shoppers at Mall St. Matthews in St. Matthews, Kentucky (video below).
Numerous reports of scuffles among shoppers and harassment directed at customers and mall employees escalated into fights that spilled outside of the mall, The Associated Press reported. Several police agencies responded to calls for help on Dec. 26. Although gunshots were reported, police could not confirm whether firearms were involved.
The crowds became so unruly that around 8 p.m. authorities advised stores to close, but some people refused to leave.
Officer Dennis McDonald, a police spokesman, told NBC News: "Businesses were in the process of closing their doors, steel grates, and you had juveniles that were not allowing businesses to close up -- [they were] climbing on the grates."
"This was a riot," McDonald added. "It was crazy.”
Only minor injuries from pushing and shoving were reported, and no arrests were made. Police stayed at the mall until 1 a.m.
"Our officers, they showed great restraint," McDonald said. "Officers were focused on dispersing crowds and keeping them moving."
Though there isn’t any indication the fights were coordinated, police believe those involved were communicating through social media.
"They would disperse and then all of a sudden there would be another group congregating at another location,” McDonald told the Associated Press.
No one has been arrested in connection with the disturbance, and the mall has since reopened without incident.