(OCOEE, Fla.) — Hundreds of teens rushed on a Florida movie theater Saturday night – forcing the theater to shut down on Valentine’s Day.
About 300 to 400 teens were inside the West Oaks Mall’s theater area and “even more” were in the parking lot when an estimated 50 people “decided to rush the movie theater,” Lt. Bill Wagner of the Ocoee Police Department told ABC News Monday.
Wagner said “a larger group” rushed the theater just outside of Orlando in a second wave, but it is unknown how many people were involved.
Brian Weckerly says he and his wife, parents to a 6-year old and 3-year old, were out enjoying their first date in months, when “a couple hundred” teens came into their theater during a showing of the R-rated Fifty Shades of Grey.
“We had a couple interruptions during the movie all night,” Weckerly told ABC News on Monday. “Near the end of it, we hear this huge wall of sound from behind us. Next thing we know, there are just large groups in single file. It was definitely orchestrated.”
Weckerly said the middle and high schoolers marched up an aisle and across the back of the theater, “making a lot of noise,” and pushing and shoving. “I got up at one point to try to find an usher, and I got pushed as well. Eventually, an usher came in and was made aware of the situation.”
Weckerly, who received a refund, said he thinks the teens “wanted to have a mob mentality.”
It’s still unclear what caused the teens to rush the theater.
One employee was struck and suffered a minor injury during the incident, police said, leading to one arrest for battery. The authorities then cleared out the movie theater and mall.
Wagner added, “Other than that, it was a very peaceful resolution to a chaotic situation.”
“Many of these juveniles didn’t pay to get in,” Wagner said, “so the movie theater decide to close their business and ask everyone to leave.”
Police are still investigating why this happened and are looking to see “if there was an individual who organized this event,” Wagner said.
“It’s an unfortunate event that people’s Valentine’s night was disturbed by a bunch of juveniles that decided to act out,” Wagner said. “We just ask the public to make sure they know where their teens are and what their teens are up to assist in keeping order.”
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