Massive brawl involving 600 people breaks out at Florida movie theater

The Christmas Day melee led to five arrests.
Posted By Kate Stanton   |   Dec. 26, 2013 at 8:19 PM   |   0 comments

Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Police arrested five teenagers after a 600-person brawl erupted outside the Hollywood River City 14 movie theater in Jacksonville, Fla., on Christmas Day.

The fight reportedly began when a group of young people tried to enter the theater without paying, prompting an off-duty police officer working security to "administer pepper spray," lock the doors and call for backup.

The scene turned to chaos when approximately 600 people, who were not necessarily theater patrons, started yelling, fighting and jumping on cars in the parking lot. About 60 police officers arrived to quell the "melee," which took about an hour and a half.

"You've got these officers doing what they do tactically to separate, keep safe, sequester. Then determine who's responsible," Lauri-Ellen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, said at the scene.

“We were inside our movie and people were outside beating each other,” 16-year-old Koby Etheridge told the Florida Times-Union.

“It is a very unfortunate incident,” said City Councilman Ray Holt. “I am glad they were able to get so many officers in to control the situation and they did a very good job.”

Some observers documented the unusual incident on social media.

Police, who arrested three teens on felony charges and two on misdemeanors, reported only minor damage to personal property. No gunshots were fired.

[ABC News, First Coast News, Florida Times-Union]

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