Police believe social media played role in mall brawl

Raekwon Gaines (left) and Solomon Wilson-Frame (right) (Photos: Manchester Police Department)

MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Chaos at the food court as hundreds of teens brawled inside the Shoppes at Buckland Hills in Manchester. Police stationed in the mall responded within seconds, leading to a stampede to escape.

“Very hectic, very chaotic situation,” said Manchester Police Capt. Chris Davis. “Everybody scattered. Mayhem from there. Several other fights sprang up throughout the mall.”

Police caught and arrested seven people in all, five of whom were juveniles. The two adults are identified as Raekwon Gaines, of Hartford and Solomon Wilson-Frame, 19, also of Hartford.

“Luckily there were no reported injuries,” Capt. Davis said. “One officer was assaulted but did not require medical attention. I really feel bad for little kids, three to four year olds who were absolutely frightened to death, not knowing exactly what’s going on.”

Stores immediately went into lockdown during the melee, closing their security gates with customers still inside. Manchester police called the situation “shameful.” Over a dozen mall fights broke out across the country Monday. Without a definitive link, Manchester Police believe social media played a role in all of them.

“Towns and cities through the country to experience the same thing, same basic fact pattern,” Capt. Davis said. “So I think probably a social media component to it.”

Manchester Police said they have additional police at Buckland Hills for the foreseeable future.

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