River Park brawl has some concerned about safety

CBS47 Investigates

A brawl at River Park Shopping Center in northeast Fresno, left a man unconscious and a community questioning their safety. The video of the fight, which was posted on Twitter shows a group of young men brazenly punching and kicking several people outside the popular Edwards theater.

So the big question, is River Park becoming unsafe? That’s the question many debated on social media after the brawl broke out a couple of weekends ago, in front of the Regal Edwards Theatre.

Fresno police say as many as 30 people possibly took part in the brawl on May 4th.

It was caught on camera and viewed more than 135,000 times on social media as of Monday.

The video shows a group striking two men, often in the head.

It goes on to show a River Park security guard right in the middle of the brawl, but unable to stop it.

Monday morning, the fight was all the talk around River Park.

Some say they are changing their plans to daytime gatherings only at the popular shopping center.

Angela Horn told CBS47, “You don’t want to be in the middle of all that stuff. It shouldn’t be that way this should be a safe area.”

Her friend, Sherry Cavalla said, “I have a 15 year old grand-daughter and she doesn’t get to do that at night, and I don’t think she should.”

Social media comments were similar, one person wrote, “This is why I don’t go to River Park anymore.”

But others disagree and say it’s one of the safest areas in town.

Sara Flanagan, who sits in River Park daily studying to become a nurse, says, “I think it is young kids and they could go anywhere. They want to go somewhere where it shown and see a lot of people watching it.”

Fresno Police Capt. Mindy Casto says, “It’s defiantly not a case of random violence. There was a disturbance between a couple of different groups. Although some of the individuals appear to be gang members it was not gang motivated.”

Police add since the fight, they have stepped up patrols, which include plain clothes officers hired by turner security to walk around.

Both Fresno Police and Turner Security, who watch over River Park are taking the attack very seriously and have increased patrols since the brawl happened.

Police say thanks to video surviellence and even social media, they are following up on leads and have a good idea of who the attacker were.

Big brother is also watching, River Park cameras are patched into the real time crime center at police headquarters.

Capt. Casto adds, “This incident happened at 9 o’clock in the evening so it was prior to curfew and a number of individuals involved were juvenile so of course our officers will be enforcing curfew.”

But some parents are not taking any chances and shared with CBS47 they are not allowing their teens to hang out by themselves anymore at the center.

This is the second attack caught on camera, in January of 2018, a girl was arrested for starting a fight and threatening others with a taser like device.

Police say the latest victims are recovering, once with a number of facial fractures.

As of Monday no one has been arrested, but police say they could come soon.

Anyone with information on this case is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 498-STOP.

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