There were frightening scenes across the country on the day after Christmas, which is regarded as one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Chaos was reported in more than 15 shopping centers from New Jersey to Arizona.
Shoppers looking for post-Christmas deals never expected the violent pandemonium that left dozens of people injured. In a number of cases, the disturbances were caused by unfounded social media posts of gunshots.
In Elizabeth, New Jersey, someone reportedly yelled "gun" after hearing a chair slam during a food court fight at the Jersey Gardens Mall. Terrified shoppers sprinted for the exits.
A reported eight to 10 people were injured in the melee, including a pregnant woman and a 12-year-old boy whose leg may have been broken.
Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage took to Twitter to keep the public informed of what was happening.
(1/4) Earlier today at The Mills at Jersey Gardens, there was an incident, which is now confirmed as a fight that broke out.— Chris Bollwage (@MayorBollwage) December 26, 2016
(2/4)Due to the loud slamming of a chair, someone shouted "gun." As a result, people began to panic. There was no shooting & no shots fired.— Chris Bollwage (@MayorBollwage) December 26, 2016
(3/4) Two injuries reported of an 8 year old w/ cut finger and a 12 year old w/ leg injury. No others reported hurt at this time.— Chris Bollwage (@MayorBollwage) December 26, 2016
(4/4) Traffic around the Mall remains very heavy and is now closed and will reopen tomorrow.— Chris Bollwage (@MayorBollwage) December 26, 2016
(1/3) Update: The roads around the mall have reopened and although traffic is still heavy, it is moving.— Chris Bollwage (@MayorBollwage) December 27, 2016
(2/3) A total of 8-10 people were injured today with non-life threatening injuries and were treated on scene.— Chris Bollwage (@MayorBollwage) December 27, 2016
(3/3) They were transferred to local hospitals for further evaluation.— Chris Bollwage (@MayorBollwage) December 27, 2016
In Manchester, Connecticut, hundreds of teens were involved in a mall fight, resulting in eight arrests.
Cops responded to a fight at a mall outside Chicago, where panicked shoppers fled. Police say 1,000 teens had gathered at the mall before the mayhem started.
At the Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, a stampede broke out after a food court fight Monday evening. Seven people were injured, according to the Nassau County Police Department.
In Fort Worth, Texas, police responded to reports of an active gunman but no shooter was found.
And there were reports of shots fired at a mall in Beachwood, Ohio. But it was more panic triggered by false reports, and police later confirmed that there had been no gunshots.
Inside a mall in Chattanooga, Tennessee, chaos erupted after someone lit fireworks inside the shopping plaza, causing many to believe someone was firing shots.
Retired NYPD Captain and CEO of KH Security, Peter Moreno, told Inside Edition: “If it is in fact shots fired, you want to get out of there, but you may end up in harm’s way. Good practice is to be calm, be like a pilot who is looking to a place to land – train yourself to look around and see where you might be concealing yourself in the case of an emergency.”
He added: “Know the difference between cover, which is something that might stop a bullet and concealment, which is something that will just hide you. Have a thought about what you might do in an emergency until it becomes second nature. It is not paranoia — it is smart."