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Fights break out at malls across US after Christmas

An officer leaves the Oak Court Mall in Memphis, Tennessee,
where police were called after a fight broke out and reports were
 made of shots being fired, December 26, 2016. (Photo by AP)
December 27, 2016 -- Fights have broken out at over a dozen malls across the US, sending shoppers scrambling for the exits during the typically busy post-Christmas shopping day.
The violence caused chaotic scenes and shut down at least 15 malls on Monday, in states from Colorado to Tennessee, Texas to New Jersey.

No one was seriously injured in the mall melees, which also prompted numerous false reports of gunfire.

Officers in the state of Ohio used pepper spray to disperse a large crowd following a fight at an upscale shopping mall in Beachwood, a suburb of Cleveland.

About 10 people suffered minor injuries during a scuffle in the food court at a mall in Elizabeth, New Jersey. At least one fight shut down the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Illinois.

A large fight also broke out between teenagers in the food court at the Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The police department in Aurora, Colorado, said the Town Center Aurora mall was closed early after multiple skirmishes were reported. In Monroeville, Pennsylvania, police arrested four youths after fights broke out at the Monroeville Mall.

It is not clear yet if there were any connections between the chaotic episodes across the country. Police say some of the incidents appeared to have been "loosely organized on social media."

The Christmas shopping season is typically a peak selling period for retailers in the US and many Western countries. In the United States, it has been calculated that a quarter of all personal spending takes place during the Christmas holiday season.
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