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Fights outside Westfield Culver City mall spark alarm and a social media frenzy

A series of fights staged by dozens of teenagers outside the Westfield Culver City mall Saturday evening sparked panic among patrons at the shopping center and prompted a social media frenzy, authorities said.

Police received a call shortly after 5 p.m. that a man with a gun was in the crowded shopping center. Mall officials launched an “active shooter” lockdown, and police began a methodical search for the suspect.

But the report of a shooter turned out to be erroneous.

“There was no evidence of shots fired, we couldn’t locate anyone credible who saw someone with a gun,” said Sgt. Brandon Vanscoy of the Culver City Police Department. “We spent a very long time clearing out the mall.”

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As police were giving the all-clear, a series of fights broke out in various pockets outside the mall — in the parking lot and surrounding streets, Vanscoy said.

It was unclear what prompted the fights, but Vanscoy said it was not uncommon for teenagers to cause mischief at the mall on any given Saturday night.

Reports and videos of the brawls exploded over social media, causing pandemonium and confusion after an already nerve-racking evening for mall employees and visitors.

No arrests were made, and there were no victims. Police found no weapons, and everything is back to normal, Vanscoy said.

rosanna.xia@latimes.com

Follow @RosannaXia for more education news

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