Fights, false reports of gunfire force malls to shut down across US

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Dec 26 (Reuters) - Fights, disturbances and false reports of gunfire caused chaotic scenes and shut down several malls across the United States on Monday during the typically busy post-Christmas shopping day.

Eight to 10 people suffered minor injuries during a melee in the food court at The Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the mayor there said on Twitter.

Panic followed when someone shouted "gun," after a chair hit the ground, causing a loud noise in the mall's food court, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage tweeted.

RELATED: Most iconic malls in America

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American malls and shopping centers

Holiday shoppers make their way through Macy's in New York November 25, 2005. Americans made their annual post-Thanksgiving trek to shopping malls on Friday, hitting stores before sunrise in search of bargains at the traditional start of the holiday season.

(REUTERS/Keith Bedford)

Mall of America Entrance Sign

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'A Shopping Haven', United States, Minnesota, Minneapolis, Mall of America

(WanderingtheWorld/Flickr)

Women walk through a shopping mall in San Francisco, California January 5, 2012. U.S. retailers are facing their biggest post-holiday depression since 2009 as consumers wary about the economic outlook cut back on spending to pay off credit card bills accumulated last month. Picture taken January 5, 2012.

(REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

A large Santa Christmas ornament is shown near a Tumi luggage store on Christmas Eve at the Beverly Center shopping mall in Los Angeles, California December 24, 2008.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Mall of America

(Matti Mattila/Flickr)

Mall of America

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A long line forms to greet Santa Claus, while children are guided to look at the camera as they sit on his lap for a portrait at The Plaza, King of Prussia Mall, United State's largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on December 6, 2014. The 2.7 million square feet shopping destination is owned by Simon Property Group. Picture taken December 6, 2014.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

Nordstrom / Mall of America

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Cars file into parking slots as Black Friday shoppers took advantage of the Citadel outlet stores 10p.m. start on Thanksgiving day in Los Angeles, California November 24, 2011. Some stores, looking to grab as big a piece as possible of what is expected to be a middling holiday shopping season, pushed post-Thanksgiving openings into Thursday evening or opened at midnight for the first time in years, getting a jump start on 'Black Friday', the traditional beginning to the U.S. holiday shopping season.

(REUTERS/Gus Ruelas)

Mall of America

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A woman walks through a shopping mall in San Francisco, California January 5, 2012. U.S. retailers are facing their biggest post-holiday depression since 2009 as consumers wary about the economic outlook cut back on spending to pay off credit card bills accumulated last month.

(REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

Food Court in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

(Ian Dagnall Commercial Collection)

Sea Life Aquarium in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

(Ian Dagnall/Alamy)

Indoor Ferris Wheel. Mall of America MOA largest indoor retail and entertainment complex Bloomington Minnesota MN USA.

(Steve Skjold/Alamy)

A woman shops at the Macy's store at a mall in a Denver suburb May 16, 2008. Macy's Inc and FAO Schwarz said they signed an agreement under which the specialty U.S. toy retailer's toy stores will be opened in about 685 Macy's locations over the next two years.

(REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Old Navy @ Mall of America

(Tony Webster/Flickr)

Shoppers walk through the Manhattan Mall in New York November 21, 2007. Tomorrow's Thanksgiving holiday is considered the start of the Christmas shopping season.

(REUTERS/Jacob Silberberg)

Mall of America 

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3rd Floor, West Side at Mall of America

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Shoppers walk the halls of The Plaza, King of Prussia Mall, United State's largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on December 6, 2014. The 2.7 million square feet shopping destination is owned by Simon Property Group. Picture taken December 6, 2014.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

Shoppers make their way past a Crate & Barrell store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois, October 22, 2007.

(REUTERS/John Gress)

Elvis at the mall of america

(Flickr)

Mall of America

(Flickr)

Mall of America

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Mall of America

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People shop in the Manhattan Mall in New York December 26, 2005. Local retailers are hoping to lure consumers back to their stores with post-Christmas discounts.

(REUTERS/Seth Wenig)

Mall of America

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12-hour dance-a-thon at the mall of america

(Flickr)

Shoppers browse at Neiman Marcus at The Plaza, King of Prussia Mall, United State's largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on December 6, 2014. The 2.7 million square feet shopping destination is owned by Simon Property Group. Picture taken December 6, 2014.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

People shop in the Manhattan Mall in New York on December 26, 2005. Local retailers are hoping to lure consumers back to their stores with post-Christmas discounts.

(REUTERS/Seth Wenig)

Shoppers walk through The Plaza, the King of Prussia Mall, United State's largest retail shopping space, featuring a draped sign advertising Tiffany & Co. at in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on December 6, 2014. The 2.7 million square feet shopping destination is owned by Simon Property Group. Picture taken December 6, 2014.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

A man sleeps on a couch outside of a Neiman Marcus store at South Park mall in Charlotte, North Carolina November 25, 2011. Millions of Americans will head out to shop once they are done with their turkey dinners, getting a jump-start on "Black Friday" - the single biggest shopping day of the year, which sets the tone for the entire season.

(REUTERS/Chris Keane)

Women wait on the escalators in front of Filene's Basement during their annual bridal gown sale known as the "Running of the Brides" in New York March 2, 2007. The dresses are sold at dramatically reduced prices and hundreds of brides bring teams to help them find the right wedding gown.

(REUTERS/ Meredith Davenport)

Shoppers pass a jewelery store during "Black Friday" at a high-end shopping mall in Tysons Corner, Virginia, November 26, 2010. Early-bird bargain-hunters scooped up "Black Friday" deals on everything from TVs to toys across the United States, but many said discounts were not as deep as those offered last year.

(REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Two men stand near the entrance to a Bloomingdale's department store on Christmas Eve day at the Beverly Center shopping mall in Los Angeles, California December 24, 2008.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Shoppers are pictured in front of a Target discount store at the Glendale Galleria shopping mall on Black Friday in Glendale, California November 28, 2008. Shoppers headed to U.S. stores on Friday lured by promises of money-saving deals, but the annual kick-off to holiday sales appeared weaker this year and worries of a deep recession kept purchases down.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Shoppers are pictured in front of Mervyn's department store at the Glendale Galleria shopping mall on Black Friday in Glendale, California November 28, 2008. The chain filed for bankruptcy in July 2008 and is closing all stores. Shoppers headed to U.S. stores on Friday lured by promises of money-saving deals, but the annual kick-off to holiday sales appeared weaker this year and worries of a deep recession kept purchases down.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser )

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Photos and video clips posted on social media showed heavily armed police officers responding to the incident as shoppers raced to exits and alarms rang out inside the mall.

Similar disturbances unfolded across the United States on Monday at malls that were packed with shoppers returning gifts, using gift cards they received over the holiday weekend and searching for clearance deals.

Many involved calls of shots being fired and youths fighting. It was unclear if the incidents were connected.

A large fight between teenagers broke out in the food court at the Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Police fielded several unconfirmed reports of shots fired, said a Facebook post by the Fayetteville Police Department, which also said the mall was evacuated.

The Hulen Mall in Fort Worth, Texas, was on lockdown, Fort Worth police said on Twitter. The CBS website there reported that police said officers responded to reports of gunshots but arrived to find that several fights had broken out involving 100-150 people. There were no injuries, police said.

At least one fight shut down the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Illinois, late on Monday, and police were called to quell the disturbance, the Chicago Daily Herald reported, citing managers of businesses in the building.

Online videos showed uniformed personnel directing mall patrons out of the building and customers fleeing down an escalator. Police and mall management could not be reached for comment.

RELATED: 14 Amazon shopping hacks

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14 Amazon shopping hacks
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14 Amazon shopping hacks

1. Cash in Those Gift Cards

You probably have Visa or MasterCard gift cards laying around with balances too low to shop with. Instead of leaving them in a drawer, transfer the balances (50 cents or above) to Amazon. It’s a wee bit tricky, but here’s how to do it: Proceed as if you were buying an Amazon gift card (or click on “Reload Your Balance”), choose “enter amount” instead of clicking on one of the set quantity boxes, and enter the gift card account number as the payment method. Bingo — you now have Amazon credit to shop with.

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

3. Don’t Ignore Warehouse Deals …

If you turn up your nose at the open-box and pre-owned items in Amazon’s Warehouse Deals section, you may be missing out on a great bargain. The discounts can be substantial, and you have 30 days to decide whether what you’ve received is a keeper.

(Sandia/Science Source via Getty Images)

4. … or Amazon’s Outlet

The Outlet is kind of like the clearance rack in your favorite store. It’s hit or miss, but these are items that Amazon is trying to clear out, so the discounts can be great (from 20% to 80%).

5. Enroll in Prime Student

If you’re in school, enjoy free two-day shipping for six months through the Prime Student program. If you want all the other benefits that come with Prime, you can then snag a Prime membership for 50% off after a six-month trial period.

(PeopleImages.com via Getty Images)

6. Give to Charity

Why not give back while you shop? Courtesy of AmazonSmile, 0.5% of eligible Amazon Prime purchases can be donated to the participating charity or school of your choice.

(Peter Dazeley via Getty Images)

7. Fill ‘Er Up

If you are not a Prime member, sometimes it’s a challenge to get your order to that $35 free shipping threshold without going way over. The Filler Item finder provides low-cost suggestions to help you get there.

(Emmanuel Faure via Getty Images)

8. Hold Onto Damaged Merchandise

If something you’ve ordered arrives in less-than-perfect condition, Amazon will replace it through their Online Returns Center and may not require you to send it back, especially if it’s inexpensive. And if the item is salvageable, you’ve scored! Let’s say you receive a bottle of household cleaner with a faulty pump. You can just hang on to it and switch the pump once you’ve finished the replacement.

(Jan Stromme via Getty Images)

9. Join Amazon Family 

Expecting moms and parents who are also Amazon Prime members can get 20% off Subscribe & Save diapers with the Amazon Family program. There’s also a 15% discount on all baby registry gifts within 60 days of your due date.

(monkeybusinessimages via Getty Images)

10. Take Advantage of Late Deliveries

You usually get your packages on time with your Prime Membership, but if there’s a time that you don’t, let them know. It’s very likely they will offer you something, like a credit to your account or an extension of your Prime membership.

(Reza Estakhrian via Getty Images)

11. Try Subscribe & Save

Subscribe & Save users can receive up to 15% off their items and free shipping. I use Subscribe & Save for my toilet paper, paper towels and a few different vitamins, and the price is definitely right. Before subscribing, do your homework and compare prices with your price club and grocery/drug stores. I like how you can specify when you want items to ship, so your essentials arrive right when you need them. One less thing to think about!

(AsiaPix via Getty Images)

12. Use Promo Codes & Coupons

Amazon does promo codes and coupons too. If you’re shopping for groceries on Amazon, be on the lookout for coupons and codes that can be applied to your purchase. They are typically on the main product page, and once you’ve clicked on them, they will appear in your cart.

(Jill Fromer via Getty Images)

13. Save an Extra 5%

You may not feel like you need another credit card — and you may not — but with the Amazon Store Card, Prime Members can get 5% back on all purchases. Like other store cards, the annual percentage rate (APR) is not fabulous, so if you go for this card, plan to pay it off every month. Otherwise, the 5% reward will be meaningless.

(Not sure whether you can qualify for the credit card? You can view a free snapshot of your credit report, updated every two weeks, on Credit.com.)

(Nicholas Rigg via Getty Images)

14. Watch for Lower Prices

You may have noticed that Amazon has pretty fluid pricing. If you see that something you purchased sold by Amazon LLC has dropped in price, Amazon will usually honor the lower price by giving you a credit or gift card. Live chat seems to be a reliable way to get this done. A good way to keep track of Amazon pricing in general is with CamelCamelCamel price tracker.

(Blend Images - Peter Dressel via Getty Images)

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The Town Center Aurora in Aurora, Colorado, was also closed early after multiple skirmishes were reported inside the mall, the Aurora Police Department said on Twitter.

In Monroeville, Pennsylvania, police arrested four youths after fights broke out at the Monroeville Mall, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Police put the Arizona Mills mall in Tempe, Arizona, on lockdown after reports of shots fired inside the shopping center. Two people, including a juvenile, were arrested after two fights broke out at the mall, an ABC affiliate reported.

Police arrested one juvenile at the Beachwood Place mall in Beachwood, Ohio, where a large disturbance occurred, an ABC affiliate in Cleveland reported.

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