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Authorities looking into brawl outside AmStar movie theater

Bibb County sheriff’s officials are investigating the circumstances that led to a melee Saturday at the AmStar Theater on Zebulon Road.

Roughly 150 to 350 youngsters ages 11 to 19 were involved in the brawl, a sheriff’s report said. No injuries were reported.

The brawl took place about 11:15 p.m. in front of the ticket counter outside the theater. Sheriff Jerry Modena said Monday that nothing happened inside the theater. As the crowd got more rowdy, an off-duty deputy working security in the parking lot tried to get the crowd to scatter.

When things heated up, the deputy called for backup. Eight more deputies from nearby patrols responded to the scene, said Chief Deputy David Davis, but that still didn’t get the crowd to disperse.

Deputies only got the crowd to leave by using pepper spray.

No arrests were made in front of the theater, but an arrest was made about an hour later with a second incident in the parking lot at the Wal-Mart across the street. It happened when a mother of a teenage girl pointed out to a deputy some girls who threatened her daughter during the brawl.

One of the girls started to yell at the mother and daughter and when the deputy attempted to restrain her, the girl struck him several times, a report said.

The girl, who is 16 years old, was arrested.

The report describes the crowd at the AmStar as a mix of black and white people and a mix of males and females. The report described some of the youths wearing blue, while others wore red and black. But Modena said based on descriptions, these were high school colors and not gang-affiliated colors.

AmStar has a policy of not allowing youths under 17 into a show after 8 p.m. on the weekends — regardless of the movie’s rating — unless accompanied by an adult, but Modena said he often sees under-age youths gathering at the theater and not going in to watch movies. He said parents are going to have to be more mindful of what their children are doing, since patrols around the theater are going to be beefed up over the next few weekends.

“If they are caught loitering, we’re going to call their parents,” Modena said. “We’re going to be asking them ‘Do you know where your child is at?’ We need parents to help us by making sure the kids buy a ticket and go into the theater and pick them up when the show is over.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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