Orange Park, FL

Commissioner says response to juvenile disturbance at Orange Park Mall ‘probably avoided a significant incident’

Julie Morgan

UPDATE:

Randy Bowman, Orange Park Mall General Manger response: “The safety of our guests, retailers and employees is our top priority. We take a holistic approach to safety with our industry best practices and programs, which include our own security force 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on foot and in vehicles, plus camera surveillance and other modern security procedures.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

A juvenile disturbance that led to one arrest at the Orange Park Mall nearly two weeks ago has caught the attention of a Clay County commissioner.

At around 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 3, National Cinema Day, more than 1,000 juveniles were near the AMC Theater at the Orange Park Mall when a disturbance broke out. As a result, the mall and theater were temporarily closed until the crowd dispersed.

Commissioner Jim Renninger said he’s meeting with mall management to “try to see how we can prevent it from happening in the future.”

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday.

Renninger said he plans to look at the video of what happened. “The reports are pretty graphic.”

He praised the response from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. “We probably avoided a significant incident at the mall. My hats off to the sheriff’s office for taking immediate action.”

After the incident, Sheriff Michelle Cook said the department is committed to keeping Clay County safe and will not allow incidents like this “to define who we are as a community.”

Police confirmed that no gun was involved in this incident.

Orange Park Mall has had to increase security in recent years, but that has not stopped shoplifting and disruptions involving fights among juveniles.

In December 2021, there was an active shooter threat in the mall’s food court after a physical altercation between two juveniles. Deputies cleared the mall of approximately 600 shoppers at the time and confirmed there was no active shooter on the premises.

NewsBreak reached out to mall management about current/new safety and security measures. They have not responded. AMC Theaters has also not responded to NewsBreak inquiries about current security measures.

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