Sacramento police have identified a man arrested Friday after allegedly fighting other patrons at Arden Fair mall.
Oscar Armendarez, 18, was arrested on a felony charge of resisting arrest and is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail at the Sacramento County Main Jail. He declined an interview request Saturday.
A fight broke out at the mall’s food court about 4:30 p.m. Friday, according to mall security. When security guards and police officers tried to usher the individuals out, more brawls started near the center court, said Steve Reed, mall security chief.
“We had various groups of people, not necessarily gangs, but people from different parts of town who weren’t getting along,” Reed said, adding that each group numbered five to eight people.
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Moments later, a planter fell over in the skirmishes, and some shoppers panicked, thinking a gun had been fired.
At that point, Reed said, “rather than have it get out of control, we made a decision to shut down the mall.” The mall closed at 7:30 p.m., 90 minutes ahead of schedule.
Lindsay Wilcox, 52, who was shopping with her 80-year-old mother and 18-year-old son, said she saw one teenager jump on another in front of the Michael Kors store. She said security guards and police officers immediately rushed to confront the individuals.
“It blew up so quickly and was subdued so quickly. None of us had a chance to panic,” Wilcox said. “I could see people taking pictures with their cellphones.”
It is unclear what started the fights. Sacramento police spokesman Officer Justin Brown said no injuries were reported and no property was damaged during the altercations. He added that there was no indication any of the brawlers were armed.
“The smallest things, like a mean look, could start something,” said Reed, a former Sacramento policeman who has worked at Arden Fair for the last 15 years. “Somebody could say a word. You don’t know. There’s any number of possibilities.”
A second male, 17, also was taken into custody for resisting arrest but his name is being withheld because he is a juvenile.
Reed characterized the groups as “fighting teenagers” and noted that at least four people have been banned from the shopping center as a result of the incident.
He said the mall had increased the number security guards and police officers in anticipation of the day after Christmas, one of the busiest times of the year.
Call The Bee’s Richard Chang at (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.