It seemed like a typical Saturday evening at the Westfield shopping mall in Culver City, until chaos erupted.
False reports began to spread about a gunman in the mall on Jan. 7, prompting shoppers to flee and bringing a huge response from local police. There was no shooter, but officers who arrived at the scene found about 200 teenagers outside the shopping center, many fighting with each other.
It took hours for police to sort it all out, with some shoppers spending the entire time on lockdown inside stores. In the end, authorities concluded that the teens had gathered at the mall, intending to cause a scene, after coordinating via social media.
Culver City is the latest flashpoint in what has become a consuming problem for malls across the country.
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