EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- A juvenile arrested is being charged as an adult in connection to a fight involving guns at Eastland Mall on Saturday night. 16-year-old Braylin Underwood was booked into the Vanderburgh County Detention Center and charged with child in possession of a firearm, criminal gang activity, and resisting law enforcement. After reviewing security footage and looking at prior gun offenses, authorities decided to charge Underwood as an adult.
“Detectives in this particular case had evidence to believe he was in possession of a firearm during the incident, and so that is why he is waived as an adult,” says Sergeant Anna Gray of the Evansville Police Department.
The charges stem from a fight that sent shoppers and mall employees running outside or ducking for cover. Two officers in the parking lot heard the commotion and jumped into action.
“You know, kind of just extra patrols, sitting in a parking lot finishing up paperwork and just happened to be there and seeing people running out,” Sgt. Gray says.
Several people called 911, saying there was a fight with guns. Police responded and determined nobody had been shot and no shots were fired.
“It came in as an active shooter, you know shots fired, they went into lockdown because somebody had a gun. I think with all the noise and with the stores closing their gates… I think people associated that with maybe shots being fired,” Sgt. Gray says.
The mall went into lockdown and police cleared stores one by one.
“Very chaotic. Everybody was kind of running everywhere, and then trying to determine who’s involved in the incident and who is just running out,” Sgt. Gray says.
Detectives are still looking through security footage. They say as many as 10 people, or more, could be involved.
“Certainly, there was an area outside of J.C. Penny, and then kind of the center or maybe just outside of the food court area as well. I think it was something that started verbally and then a physical altercation took place,” Sgt. Gray says.
A second juvenile was arrested but will not be waived to adult court. Police say they are thankful that nobody was hurt.
“People ask, you know ‘did they overreact to the situation’, or were officers upset that it was not an active shooter. I think really, we would rather be overprepared than underprepared for something,” Sgt. Gray says.
Police say that more arrests could be made. Underwood is schedule to appear in court on Tuesday morning.
More from Ann Powell
Eyewitness News. Everywhere you are.