Walden Galleria Tim Wenger

Chaotic Scene at Walden Galleria Mall

Cheektowaga PD: Fights at Mall; Heavy Police Presence

December 26, 2018 - 8:34 pm

Cheektowaga, N.Y. (WBEN) - A chaotic night at the Walden Galleria Shopping Mall, a day after Christmas.

During the 7pm hour Wednesday, many stores started closing their doors following unconfirmed reports of gunshots and hundreds of unruly teens roaming the mall, looking for fights and trouble. 

This video was captured at the height of the unrest.

A short time later, it was learned that Cheektowaga Police along with other law enforcement partners were dealing with 3 large fights at the mall.  The situation was under control as of 8pm. 

Police say there were no shots fired. The report turned out to be false and was attributed to a metal sign that was knocked over by the youths running the concourse.  The situation had people pouring out of the mall for a time.  The mall was temporarily evacuated.  A heavy police presence remained inside and outside the mall for the rest of the night.

Channel 7 reporter Ed Drantch was at the mall as the chaos was unfolding.  He provided this video on Twitter.

During special coverage on WBEN Wednesday night, a worker at the mall identified as Janet, told Tom Bauerle, "It was scary.  There was a stampede of people running by our store".  She said it's her personal opinion that the mall needs to take security more seriously. 

Another caller to WBEN, Debbie, told Bauerle, "It was utterly terrifying.  Within 5 minutes of being there, my instincts told me to get out. I started screaming the names of my 5 kids and workers at the Pac Sun store pulled us in and kept us safe.  They were incredible and I want to express my gratitude," she said. 

In a statement issued late Wednesday night, Cheektowaga Police said upon seeing the large fights, many stores began closing their security gates and enacted 'lockdown' to prevent issues within their stores. Several stores later reopened at 8:30 p.m.

Police arrested two people following the fights. One person was arrested for disorderly conduct and the second was arrested for menacing. The department says no injuries were reported to them.

Statement from Cheektowaga Police:

On December 26, 2018 Cheektowaga Police responded to calls of fights and disorderly youths starting at approximately 6:31 PM at the Walden Galleria Mall. These calls were handled by Cheektowaga Police Officers assigned to the Walden Galleria. A call of shots fired came in at approximately 7:29 PM. This report turned out to be false and was attributed to a metal sign that was knocked over by the youths running the concourse.

Upon seeing the large group of disorderly youths engaged in fights many stores began to close their security gates and enacted “lockdown” to prevent issues within their stores. Several stores reopened at 8:30 PM.

Two arrests were made, one for Disorderly Conduct and a second for Menacing.  No injuries were reported to Police at the time of this e-mail

The Cheektowaga Police would like to thank Officers from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), New York State Police, NFTA Police, City of Buffalo Police, Amherst Police, Depew Police and West Seneca Police for their assistance.

The day after Christmas is one of the busiest days of the year at the mall, as many shoppers are exchanging and returning Christmas gifts.

The Galleria Mall is set to open at 10am Thursday.  A heavy police presence is expected at the mall going forward. 

Statement from Walden Galleria:

“Safety is and remains our highest priority at Walden Galleria. The incidents that took place between disorderly youth acquaintances are absolutely unacceptable, incredibly disruptive and undermine the tireless efforts made by our security team, community partners and local law enforcement agencies to make Walden Galleria a year-round family friendly destination. We are cooperating fully and actively participating with the Cheektowaga Police department in the ongoing investigation and remain committed to providing a safe environment for our guests, employees and tenants.”

As a result of our ongoing discussions and dialogue with the Cheektowaga Police department, the following actions and will be implemented immediately at Walden Galleria:

  • In cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, there will be an increased police and security presence through the remainder of the holiday season at Walden Galleria. 
  • In addition, Walden Galleria’s parental escort policy will be strictly enforced. Walden Galleria has a parental escort policy from 4:00pm until close on Friday and Saturday evenings. Guests under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 21 years of age or older. (Parental Escort Policy MB-18 does not apply to stores with exterior entrances).
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