Bay Street shoppers and moviegoers were abruptly evacuated Sunday afternoon amid reports of a large brawl involving hundreds of juveniles and gunfire. Reports of the number of juveniles involved ranged from 100 to as many as 400.
Many of the juveniles reportedly arrived via public transportation including AC Transit or the free Emery Go-Round shuttle from BART.
The mall has been plagued by similar incidents in the past but none involving gunfire.
Audio from when shots fired went out. “We’re calling everybody.” pic.twitter.com/Ht8BSqMaRe
— Scanner Berkeley (@ScanBerkeley) August 28, 2023
“I was at AMC Bay Street just now watching a movie when the lights came on in the middle of the screening around 6 p.m. and a staffer entered the theater to tell everyone that there were fights happening outside and everyone needed to leave the theater immediately,” said Zac Farber who is the managing editor at Berkeleyside.com.
“He said there were ‘fights’ and ‘riots.‘ I don’t know how serious it was or if there was gunfire. We were able to get out through a stairwell and leave. We saw a crowd of around 100 or so running from a distance in the parking garage.”
“The youth were kicking and throwing balls at folks, riding bikes around all crazy with disregard for others,” described another witness. “[They were] taking belts and running through the store whipping each other and so much small theft.”
A panicked voice could be heard yelling “Shots Fired! Shots Fired!’ on the police scanner with the dispatcher responding “We’re calling everybody.” “Everybody meaning CHP and mutual aid from Berkeley PD and Oakland PD.
The gunfire apparently happened on the third floor near the theater. Reports via Citizen app and twitter confirmed the single gunfire shot and speculated that it might have been discharged after being dropped.
The moment the gun was discharged was captured on the social account Bay Area State of Mind.
So many videos from last night’s Bay Street melee. This one shared by @bayareaeventz appears to show the moment when a gun was discharged in a crowd of juveniles.
— The E'ville Eye News (@TheEvilleEye) August 28, 2023
400 TEENAGERS SWARMED BAY STREET SHOPPING CENTER IN EMERYVILLE, CALIFORNIA TODAY 🚨
WOMAN ST*BBED IN THE NECK AFTER MULTIPLE FIGHTS BREAK OUT, SHOTS FIRED pic.twitter.com/LJsCoYpCBj
— BAY AREA STATE OF MIND (@YayAreaNews) August 28, 2023
There was also reports of a stabbing victim with a wound to the back with The Alameda County Fire Department reporting to administer aid.
As of 7 p.m., fights had moved to the Sonesta hotel across the street with reports of around 50 people still fighting.
As of 8 p.m., part of the crowds has dispersed to the nearby Target where there was reports of threats of looting.
A command post has been established at Hyatt Place where the joint agencies are conducting operations.
The Emeryville Police Department has published a nixle alert regarding tonight’s incident noting providing additional details and a more comprehensive timeline.
The incident happened on a day deemed “National Cinema Day” where many theaters were discounting tickets as low as $4. There were several other smilier incidents across the county including Los Angeles, Boston, Florida, Atlanta and Chicago among others. It is unknown if these incidents are connected.
There have been additional reports of a smaller incident involving large groups of unaccompanied juveniles last weekend that did not escalate to the level of reportable news by the regional media.
8/28 update: The SF Chronicle is reporting that the stabbing victim was a teenager and that the wounds are not expected to be life threatening. They are also reporting that the incident may have been coordinated through social media.
Since this is breaking news, we will update this story as new information becomes available.
Feature Image: Jordan Potier