NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Queens Center Mall erupted into chaos Friday afternoon after police say a rapper’s book signing spiraled out of control.
Authorities say Bronx-born rapper “A Boogie wit da Hoodie” – whose real name is Julius Dubose – was scheduled to appear inside the mall’s Puma store at 5:30 p.m.READ MORE: New York Poised To Lift Most COVID Restrictions As Vaccination Rate Hovers Around 70%
Video posted to social media showed people getting into fist fights and looting stores, as sheer chaos broke out around 2:30 p.m.
“They grabbed the chairs and broke it on his head, the poor guy was bleeding,” witness Maria Moncada said. “It was bad.”
Police haven’t pinpointed why fights broke out, but they say they were called when far bigger crowds than mall security expected showed up.
Once cops arrived, the appearance was officially cancelled. The NYPD says people in the crowds did not believe the officers telling them it was cancelled, so additional officers had to be called in to evacuate people.READ MORE: Report: Shake Shack Manager Falsely Accused Of Trying To Poison NYPD Officers Files Lawsuit
From there, the brawls continued.
“They fought in Foot Locker, and people were stealing shirts while they were fighting,” one witness said.
Several hours after the madness erupted, the mall and rapper posted on social media that the event was cancelled. Police say as those posts circulated, the crowds began to subside.
At least two people were taken into custody as officers remained at the mall to make sure people left peacefully.MORE NEWS: Actress Lisa Banes Dies After Being Struck By Scooter On Upper West Side
The book signing wasn’t immediately rescheduled.