Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies gather at a crime scene in Torrance, Calif., on Jan. 22, 2023. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
TORRANCE, Calif.—Five juveniles were arrested and two people, including a police officer, were wounded during an unruly gathering of roughly 1,000 youths at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance that spread to at least 34 nearby businesses and drew a multi-agency response, authorities said Dec. 31.
No looting or vandalism was reported.
At the peak of the disturbance, which began at about 4:31 p.m. Saturday, surrounding streets were shutdown for more than seven hours while officers worked to disperse the crowd, according to the Torrance Police Department.
Those arrested, three girls and two boys, were from the nearby cities of Hawthorne, Los Angeles, Gardena, and Compton, Torrance police spokesman Sgt. Ron Salary said in a statement early Sunday. The address of one arrestee was unknown.
The injured Torrance police officer and a juvenile were treated at the scene and did not require hospitalization.
Witnesses on social media said an employee from one of the mall stores “got in the middle of it” and sustained a small laceration to the face.
“The lawless acts we witnessed [Saturday night] do not reflect the values of our Torrance community,” Torrance Police Chief Jay Heart said. “The Torrance Police Department and our regional law enforcement partners remain committed to quelling these disturbances and restoring order as quickly as possible.”
Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, Calif. (Google Maps/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Torrance Mayor George K. Chen decried the disturbance and urged his community to “do better.”
“We have entered a very sad state when youth visit our community and cause harm and havoc,” Mr. Chen said in a statement. “Crimes committed by youth or adults that are pre-planned and organized to loot and destroy property are not acceptable. Our criminal justice system must address these crimes so we don’t have these events repeated without serious consequences.
“We can and must be better. The coordination and response from our police department and their regional partners is appreciated by our Torrance community.”
The disturbance was initially reported after Torrance police officers on routine foot patrol at the Del Amo mall noticed a group of unruly juveniles that continued to grow and become increasingly rowdy.
As the gathering of mostly juveniles grew larger with a Torrance police officer being injured during the melee, department officials called for more assistance.
Officers from nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies responded including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena, El Segundo, Palos Verdes Estates, Culver City, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach police departments.
A helicopter from the LAPD Air Support Division was also on the scene.
“Ultimately a skirmish line was formed, the juveniles were given a dispersal order and they were directed off the mall property and away from surrounding businesses,” Torrance police said. “While this was occurring, Torrance Police Officers and assisting Neighboring Law Enforcement agencies responded to thirty-four businesses in which additional separate disruptive groups of juveniles had gathered and needed to be removed.
“None of our Business Community members reported any incidents of looting. Although there were 911 calls regarding disruptive juveniles indiscriminately throwing bottles, no significant vandalism [was] were reported.”
Del Amo Fashion Center, 3525 W. Carson St., which was scheduled to remain open until 9 p.m., closed at around 5 p.m., due to the disturbance.
Amid the police response, street closures were imposed on Carson Street from Madrona Avenue to Del Amo Circle East, Del Amo Circle East from Carson Street to Fashion Way, and Fashion Way from Madrona Avenue to Amie Avenue.
All streets reopened shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday.