Police: Store complaints led to Friday mall brawl

Further details have emerged about a Friday night incident at the Acadiana Mall that resulted in seven arrests.

Several stores complained about a large group creating a disturbance in the common area of the mall just before 8 p.m. Friday, said Cpl. Paul Mouton, spokesman for the Lafayette Police Department.

When security guards responded, the situation escalated.

“During their response, there was a verbal confrontation between the guards and the individuals, and a physical encounter began afterwards,” Mouton said. “It was an encounter between the guards and the group.”

On Saturday, police said one victim suffered a broken nose, while two others suffered bruising.

Immediately after the incident, police arrested Rasheed Lindon, 21; Rashaad Dean, 18; Devin Lawrence,

20; Leo Prejean, 21; Rontraylon Perry, 20 and two juvenile suspects. All were charged with simple battery.

Jamie Stelly, the mall’s marketing director, declined to specify whether any security changes will take place as a result of the incident.

“Our number one priority is to provide our shoppers, retail partners and employees with a comfortable, convenient and enjoyable experience,” Stelly said via email. “We have numerous security procedures in place, some are noticeable by our shoppers, and many are not. We can’t discuss them as that would compromise our security efforts.”

Meanwhile, Mouton said there have been no major developments in an investigation into a Jan. 10 bomb threat at the mall. Around 11:45 a.m. that day, police responded after mall employees received a call saying there was a device on the property. Nothing was found, and the mall re-opened about three hours later.

Police also continue to investigate a report from Dec. 26, 2013, in which a woman said she was sexually assaulted in her vehicle in the mall parking lot. Last year, police released a sketch of a possible suspect, as well as a surveillance photo of two men who they thought might have information about the case. But so far, no arrests have been made.

“We actually had some promising things that came up in that, but they turned out not to pan out,” Mouton said. “We’re still looking at the case.”

At the time, the woman told police that she was sitting in her vehicle when the suspect opened her door and pointed a gun at her, then assaulted her. The suspect has previously been described at a white male in his mid-40s, wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, cowboy boots, black sunglasses, black/grey spiky hair and a short beard.

Anyone with information about any of the incidents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 232-TIPS or Lafayette police at 291-8600.

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