Teen fight breaks out in Center City as cameras roll

March 18, 2011 6:19:54 AM PDT
The weather was nice and the teens flocked to Chestnut Street in Center City which has become the latest popular spot to hang out.

Police knew the recipe was perfect for something to break out and it did.

RELATED: Raw video as fight breaks out

Fortunately, they were there when it happened.

The scene was the H&M clothing store at 16th and Chestnut streets just after 7:00 p.m.

The store was filled with young teens out shopping when suddenly all chaos broke loose.

Fists were flying after a group of girls had some kind of dispute sending store security scrambling to break it up.

Soon there were clothes, display counters and mannequins knocked to the ground.

Customers had their own descriptions of the scene.

"It was kind of crazy, I felt for the safety, it was the safety of the kids, it was terror for the kids, for the kids and management, yeah, it was terror for the kids; it was crazy," Tony Perez of Center City said.

"It was very intense, I must say, I mean, the girls were just grabbing, I didn't know what was going on, I was just shopping," Sherrod West of West Philadelphia said.

Soon police ran into the store as the rowdy teens tried to make a run for it, but the manager pointed them out.

In cell phone video shot by by me & Elizabeth Fiedler of WHYY, the manager can be heard telling the police, "Right there, right there, all right there."

Police ran after the group and made a number of arrests in connection with the melee.

A large number of officers were already on patrol on Chestnut between 15th and 16th because they knew the nice weather would draw a large gathering of teenagers to the new popular hangout filled with shops that teens like.

"We just come out to relax, see each other, get together and sometimes there'll be certain kids that will get out of place and do unnecessary things," teen Ramean Clowney of West Philadelphia said.

Earlier in the day, police had made a handful of arrests of other teenagers involved in a disturbance outside the Shops at Liberty Place.

In recent weeks, another teenager had been critically stabbed in a melee outside the H&M store.

Tonight, workers at the store were grateful none of them were hurt, although, they were having to clean up the big mess that was left behind, including a lot of hair weaves that the girls pulled from each other during the fight.

Police are processing a number of teenagers who are facing a slew of charges in connection with the melee.

It is a safe bet that a large contingent of officers will be back out on Chestnut tomorrow evening with the weather expected to be the best so far this year.