Hundreds of teenagers descended on a Chicago suburb over the weekend causing a major disturbance that forced the cancelation of a popular annual carnival.
The mayhem broke out in suburban Tinley Park after about 400 teenagers responded to a call on social media to gather at the Armed Forces Carnival at the 80th Avenue train station and began running around the parking lot fighting with each other.
Officials said the teens were attempting to “cause chaos and disrupt this event.”
Video posted to social media showed the kids jumping on cars, running through parking lots and brawling as police attempted to break up the fights.
“The kids were just acting a fool,” Michael Salerno of Windy City Amusements told FOX32 Chicago. “It’s a shame. Everyone was enjoying themselves.”
The Armed Forces Carnival is a yearly three–day event with rides and games that brings together hundreds of families and raises money for local charities.
A Tinley Park police officer was injured while trying to break up a fight. The officer was treated and released from the hospital later Saturday evening.
Police released most of the teenagers back into the custody of their parents, while five teenagers were issued citations for fighting in public, according to authorities. No shots were fired during the incident.
Officials in suburban Tinley Park announced the carnival would be canceled on Sunday after learning that another teen flash mob was being planned on social media.
Last month, a mob of hundreds of teenagers stormed the streets of downtown Chicago, smashing car windows, attacking bystanders and sending panicked tourists running from the sound of gunfire. Hundreds of police officers assisted by SWAT teams descended on downtown to restore order.
In response to the teen “takeover,” a group of 400 Black pastors and men joined Bishop Tavis Grant in an anti–violence march to show the youth who destroyed property and attacked tourists during the incident they had positive role models and work opportunities to turn to.
The incident in Tinley Park has caused a heated debate about how to stop flash mobs and teen violence across the city.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that she was “deeply disturbed“ by the violence and urged parents to be aware of their children’s activity on social media.
“We are working closely with law enforcement to investigate this incident and take appropriate action,” Lightfoot said. “I am asking parents to talk to their children about the dangers of these types of mob scenes, and I am urging adults gathered at the site to intervene in situations when youth are engaging in violence.”
The town of Tinley Park has issued a warning to any teens considering participating in a flash mob, saying that the city has zero tolerance for that type of activity.
“We take this behavior very seriously,” said Village President Jake Griffin. “We urge parents to talk to their children about the kind of activities that will not be tolerated in our community.”
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