Five youths were arrested Saturday after disruptive crowds of teens descended on the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, prompting the closure of the mall and nearby streets, police said.
At about 12:42 p.m., Torrance police officers who were patrolling the mall saw a large group of juveniles fighting, said Sgt. Ron Salary, a spokesman for the Torrance Police Department. Officers escorted them off the mall’s property.
Later that afternoon, around 4:30 p.m., crowds of juveniles gathered at different spots at the shopping center, according to a statement released by the department.
“It started to grow over time,” Salary said.
The “escalating disruptive behavior” — which led to minor injuries for a juvenile and a police officer — prompted Torrance police to call on nearly a dozen other law enforcement agencies for help. Officers then formed a skirmish line, issued a dispersal order, and escorted the young people away from the mall and surrounding businesses, according to a news release from the department.
The five juveniles who were arrested included three girls and two boys, police said.
Torrance Mayor George K. Chen expressed dismay over the incident and praised the response by law enforcement. “We have entered a very sad state when youth visit our community and cause harm and havoc,” he said in a statement.
The Police Department said four of the arrested youth were from the cities of Los Angeles, Hawthorne, Compton and Gardena; it was unknown where the fifth was living. Businesses did not report any thefts, and there was no significant vandalism, despite some 911 calls referring to youth “indiscriminately throwing bottles,” the department said in its statement.
Carson Street was closed from Madrona Avenue to Del Amo Circle East, Torrance police said in a Facebook post Saturday. Del Amo Circle East was closed from Carson Street to Fashion Way, and Fashion Way was closed from Madrona Avenue to Amie Avenue, the post said. Traffic resumed in all directions around midnight.
The Daily Breeze reported that the mall shut down early after police arrived at the shopping center at around 5 p.m. The mall was scheduled to close at 9 p.m. Saturday. Salary confirmed the mall closed earlier than scheduled.
The policy activity on Saturday wasn’t expected to affect the mall’s hours on New Year’s Eve, Salary said. The mall was scheduled to be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, according to the shopping center’s website.