Seven charged, two hospitalized after fights break out at Trumbull mall
Seven people were arrested and two briefly hospitalized in a series of fights that broke out at Westfield Trumbull Mall Dec. 26. Officers from Bridgeport, Fairfield and Monroe helped restore order and escorted dozens of teens from the property.
According to Lt. Brian Weir the incidents began shortly before 7 p.m. when several Trumbull police officers were notified that a fight had broken out between several teens on the upper level near Target. The officers were able to break up the fight and detained six teens as they attempted to flee.
As the crowd dispersed, other groups of teens congregated at other locations and more fights broke out, Weir said.
Due to the large crowds and disorderly conditions, Trumbull police requested assistance from other deparments, and the combined force of officers and police dogs dispesed the crowds and escorted numerous people from the mall.
Trumbull EMS and AMR treated three people who had been injured in the altercations, Weir said. One juvenile male was taken to St. Vincent’s Medical Center and one juvenile female was taken to Bridgeport Hospital. Both had minor injuries. One bystander suffered minor injuries but declined medical attention. The mall remained open during the incident and conditions returned to normal shortly after 8 p.m.
As a result of the incident Daniel Vasquez, 19, of Bridgeport was charged with breach of peace. He was released on a promise to appear in court Jan. 2. Six juveniles were also arrested and charged with breach of peace and interfering with police.
Police Chief Michael Lombardo, reached the following day, said the incidents appear to have been sparked by a combination of school being closed and teens looking for something to do.
“The kids have the day off and they say, ‘Hey, let’s go walk around the mall,’” he said. “Then they meet other people they know there and there are large groups of people walking around.”
Then if one group encounters another, and there are people in the groups that dislike each other, the potential for conflict increases until a large scale fight breaks out, he said.
Trumbull police considered closing the mall early, but decided against it because the situation had quickly been brought under control, Lombardo said.
“We had 15 officers there, plus police from the other towns,” he said.
The Boxing Day brawl took place on the 10th anniversary of another large-scale fight at the Westfield Trumbull mall. On Dec. 26, 2009 more than a hundred “rowdy and disruptive” teens caused a melee that resulted in the early closing of the mall on the busy, gift-exchanging day after Christmas.
Officers used a stun gun to subdue one 17-year-old before closing the mall at about 8:30 p.m.
Trumbull Police Lt. Richard Applebaum, who was the lead officer at the scene, speculated teens were drawn to the mall because of the rainy weather and it being the Saturday of the Christmas weekend. He said they were probably just looking for a “place they could hang out indoors.” He said the rowdy teens kept returning to the mall after being thrown out by the mall's security staff for allegedly bothering customers.
“It was just a mass of humanity getting out of control,” Applebaum said