CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Pyramid Management Group, the owner of the Walden Galleria, has released a statement following Wednesday night's fights that put the Cheektowaga shopping center into lock down.
"Safety is and remains our highest priority at the Walden Galleria," the statement said. "The incidents that took place between disorderly youth acquaintances are absolutely unacceptable, incredibly disruptive and undermine the tireless efforts made by our security team, community partners and local law enforcement agencies to make Walden Galleria a year-round family friendly destination. We are operating fully and actively participating with the Cheektowaga Police department in the ongoing investigation and remain committed to providing a safe environment for our guests, employees and tenants."
Pyramid said as a result of the three fights Wednesday that led to two arrests, there will be an increased police and security presence for the remainder of the holiday season. Twenty-five uniformed officers will be working the mall tonight, Cheektowaga Police said.
The mall's parental escort policy will also be strictly enforced, according to Pyramid. Guests under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 21 years of age or older from 4 p.m. until close on Friday and Saturday nights. The policy does not apply to stores with exterior entrances of their own, such as Macy's, JCPenney and Best Buy.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Cheektowaga Police Chief David Zack said the mall went into active shooter drill mode last night, and stores followed a pre-planned active shooter protocol. A noise that many believed to be a gunshot was actually a metal sign being knocked over, Zack said.