Man bails out of jail after Dolphin Mall fight leads to panic
People initially believed there was a shooting
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – David Smith has been released from jail after he was arrested Saturday night for a fight at the Dolphin Mall that led customers to panic, authorities said.
Smith, 31, of Cape Coral, was arrested on an aggravated battery charge.
Police said Smith sparked the commotion at the Dolphin Mall over the weekend that sent officers rushing to the scene.
"I was, like, freaking out," one customer, who believed there was a shooting, said.
Police said Smith attacked another man at the mall Saturday night, which sent a crowd of people running in fear.
At some point, some people believed they heard gunshots and the mall was put on lockdown.
"People just started panicking and things just got out of control," Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz said. "People tend to hear things. People tend to see things. The reality is that's what an officer has to deal with when they show up to a scene."
According to an arrest report, an officer who was working an off-duty detail at the mall was inside the Victoria's Secret Pink store regarding a theft when he saw a herd of people running away from the main entrance.
Multiple people told the officer that Smith was near the Brewville Bar and had a gun, the report stated.
Police said one man tackled Smith to the ground as another man jumped on top of Smith's legs.
The officer pressed his knee onto Smith's back in an attempt to retrieve his left arm from underneath his waistband, but Smith tensed up and wouldn't follow the officer's commands to give him his hand, authorities said.
Police said multiple people kept screaming to the officer to be careful because Smith had a gun.
According to the report, the officer "dry stunned" Smith about six times before he was able to take him into custody.
Police said they found no evidence of a shooting.
Police said surveillance video shows Smith approaching another man and throwing him into the escalator glass before punching the man 11 times in the head.
The victim was taken to a hospital with a broken nose and possible internal bleeding, authorities said.
Smith was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital for medical clearance before being taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
A similar scene played out at the Dolphin Mall in August 2017 when unfounded reports of a shooting led to the mall being evacuated.
In December, there was another unfounded report of a shooting at the Aventura Mall.
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