Orange County deputies are trying to figure out why hundreds of teenagers suddenly rushed into the movie theater at West Oaks Mall in Ocoee Saturday night.
Deputies said as many as 900 kids, described as being in middle or high school, attempted to rush the theater at once.
“My anxiety hit the roof. I was like, ‘How do we get out?’” said moviegoer Jessica Weckerly.
Nearly 300 teenagers were able to get in before the security gates were closed. Police said a group of about 100 rushed into the theater and continued causing a disturbance.
Jessica Weckerly and her husband, Brian Weckerly, were on their first date in months for the Valentine’s Day showing of “50 Shades of Grey” when they heard hundreds of people stampeding into the building.
“It was like a herd of elephants coming up the corridor and races up the stairwell. Just bum-rushed the entire theater,” Jessica Weckerly said.
Witnesses said several fights broke.
“It’s almost seemed like they wanted to arrest some authority, like, we’re taking over,” said Brian Weckerly.
Ocoee police and Winter Garden police responded to the scene.
Cellphone video recorded by a witness captured the chaos.
“At that point, since we’re dealing with 800 to 900 juveniles, they called for assistance from surrounding agencies,” said Lt. Paul Hopkins, of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. “We all formed together and were successfully able to get all these kids out of the mall area.”
Once police got the situation under control inside the mall, someone fired a gunshot into the air outside.
Another person was robbed in the parking lot and officers recovered a stolen car with drugs inside.
“Just a bunch of stupid kids. Even came up to us and messed with us,” said Jessica Waverly.
People posted videos on social media.
“Kids show up with guns, shooting guns in the air, robbing people, stolen cars, drugs. That’s a big concern to us,” Hopkins said.
One juvenile was arrested for battery and resisting an officer without violence. A second juvenile was arrested on misdemeanor drug charges.
There were no reported injuries.
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