Bay Street Shoppers Urgently Evacuated as Massive Brawl and Gunfire Erupts
Chaos unfolded on a Sunday afternoon at Bay Street, as shoppers were swiftly evacuated due to an extensive altercation involving hundreds of juveniles and even gunfire. The conflicting accounts about the number of youths involved ranged widely, spanning from around 100 to a staggering 400.
This incident marked a distressing recurrence for the mall, which had been plagued by similar episodes in the past. However, this time the situation escalated to a new level with the inclusion of gunfire, a stark departure from previous altercations.
Zac Farber, the managing editor at Berkeleyside.com, recounted his experience, mentioning that he was in the midst of watching a movie at AMC Bay Street when the abrupt disruption occurred. Around 6 p.m., during the screening, the lights unexpectedly came on and a staff member entered the theater, instructing everyone to leave immediately. Farber recalled that the staffer mentioned fights and riots occurring outside, although he was uncertain about the severity of the situation or the presence of gunfire. He and others were able to exit through a stairwell and saw a group of approximately 100 individuals running in the parking garage from a distance.
An eyewitness described the chaotic scene outside, with the young individuals engaging in unruly behavior such as kicking, throwing objects at people, riding bicycles recklessly, and showing little regard for the safety of others. The witness further detailed instances of them using belts to whip each other and engaging in acts of minor theft.
The situation escalated further as a voice on the police scanner frantically exclaimed, “Shots Fired! Shots Fired!” The dispatcher swiftly responded by mobilizing a joint response, involving the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Berkeley Police Department, and Oakland Police Department.
The reports indicated that the gunfire occurred on the third floor in close proximity to the theater. Accounts from the Citizen app and Twitter corroborated the gunfire, speculating that it might have been accidental discharge following a drop.
Remarkably, the exact moment of the gunshot was captured and shared on the social media account “Bay Area State of Mind.” Additionally, reports emerged of a stabbing victim with injuries to their back. The Alameda County Fire Department was dispatched to provide necessary aid.
As the situation continued to unfold, the fights spilled over to the Sonesta hotel across the street, with approximately 50 individuals still engaged in altercations by 7 p.m. Subsequently, by 8 p.m., portions of the crowd dispersed to the nearby Target store, where reports of looting surfaced.
In response to the escalating crisis, a command post was established at the Hyatt Place, where the collaborative efforts of various law enforcement agencies were coordinated.
The Emeryville Police Department issued a nixle alert, furnishing further details about the incident and offering a more comprehensive timeline of events.
Ironically, the day of the incident coincided with “National Cinema Day,” a day marked by discounted movie tickets, some as low as $4. The occurrence of similar incidents across the country, including Boston, Florida, Atlanta, and Chicago, raised concerns about potential connections, although no definitive conclusions could be drawn.
Given the fluid nature of the situation, this report will be updated in accordance with the latest developments and information.