Chicago, IL – A crowd of students swarmed a south side strip mall during Wednesday’s National Walkout Day demonstration, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake (video below.)
“They pretty much trashed this whole area,” GameStop manager Robert Owens told Blue Lives Matter on Thursday.
The nationwide demonstration, touted as a demand for gun control legislation, was slated to last for exactly 17 minutes, in remembrance of each of the 17 people murdered during the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
Not all of the protests were peaceful.
On Chicago’s South Side, Simeon Career Academy students descended on businesses situated in a strip mall behind the school, and began harassing customers and employees.
“Things started out cool,” a Potbelly Sandwich Shop manager, who did not want to be further identified, told Blue Lives Matter. “But then some of the guys started yelling, threatened the employees, and said they were going to come back [into the kitchen area] and make their own food.”
There were at least 50 teens in the eatery at one point, and they came inside in groups of 10 to 15 at a time, he said.
The manager noted that Potbelly’s also serves many elderly customers, some of whom were in the shop when the students began wreaking havoc.
He said that the students’ behavior and vulgar language was “disrespectful,” and that the Potbelly’s employees were ultimately forced to contact Chicago police as the teens’ antics escalated.
The students were escorted out of the restaurant by law enforcement before they caused any physical damage to the business, the manager said.
Meanwhile, at a nearby GameStop, alert employees began to grow concerned as approximately 20 teens began milling around the store without making any purchases, Owens told Blue Lives Matter.
Owens said that the students moved through the area outisde the store in a “huge, single-file line.”
GameStop employees were able to clear out customers, and locked up the business before problems arose, he said, adding that nearby stores were not so fortunate.
According to an anonymous J&J Fish and Chicken employee, the students attacked a delivery truck outside of the restaurant, and stole numerous Arizona-brand drinks that were being delivered to the business.
“There was no trouble inside, just outside,” the employee told Blue Lives Matter.
The Potbelly’s manager said that the shop has experienced problems with Simeon students in the past, usually due to fights. In light of Wednesday’s events, the business may require students to be accompanied by adults in order to receive service, he said.
Video of the teens trashing a nearby Walmart store during the protest went viral before the video was taken down several hours later. A Walmart store manager told Blue Lives Matter that he was not allowed to provide any information regarding the incident.
UPDATE: Additional video has made it out (below.)