10 teens, 1 adult charged in brutal Kroger parking lot attack

(WMC) - Officers arrested and charged 10 teenagers and one adult as of Monday evening in the attack that happened in a Kroger parking lot.

Police arrested and charged Raheem Richardson,19, with aggravated assault and aggravated riot.

Additionally, a 16-year-old was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated riot, and acting in concert to wit aggravated assault.

Eight teenagers, from 14 to 17 years old, are charged with aggravated riot. A 15-year-old boy arrested Sunday and charged with similar crimes.

Three people were injured Saturday night by a large group of teenagers who came from a nearby CiCi's Pizza restaurant. Two Kroger employees, ages 17 and 18, were jumped while trying to stop the initial attack on a 25-year-old customer.

Both were "struck several times in the head and face while being knocked to the ground," according to reports. The victims say large pumpkins were thrown at their heads. They both were eventually knocked unconscious.

Cell phone video circulating Facebook captured teenagers beating one of the Kroger employees next to the store's entrance doors.

"We have evidence, information, some of them are [in a gang]. Can we say this was a gang sanction incident? We don't have any information to substantiate that," Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said during a news conference. "From what we have, is a flash mob that got out of control."

Armstrong called the attack an isolated incident Monday. He also said MPD does not have enough evidence to call the case a hate crime as the victims were both white and African-American.

As the investigation continues, leaders shifted the conversation to public safety as residents were reminded to always be aware of their surroundings.

Patrols will be increased in the area near Poplar Avenue and Highland Street. Additionally, MPD is working with businesses in the plaza to enhance security.

Many businesses already have taken that initiative. CiCi's put up a new sign on their door that reads: Minors must be accompanied by an adult guardian.

"It's [the attack] just reprehensible ... It damages our community, not to mention the harm that was done to the victim. It cast our city in a horribly bad light. We want to make it clear we're not going to tolerate it," Mayor A C Wharton also said during the conference.

Wharton also touched on the effectiveness of a stricter curfew for teens, and whether it would work in Memphis. To read more on Memphis' curfew ordinance, click here.

One Poplar Plaza employee, who wants to remain unidentified, says the large group was kicked out of CiCi's Pizza just before the incident. He 100 young people caused so much of a ruckus inside CiCi's that the manager closed more than an hour early.

Police detained several other teens for questioning Monday afternoon.

"There's a few crimes that if three or more people commit that crime, we as prosecutors can ask the judge to enhance that sentence," District Attorney General Amy Weirich said.

The 15-year-old charged Sunday has not been enrolled in school this year, and his mother could also face charges.

Armstrong credits parents in two of the arrests for "stepping up" and holding their kids responsible in the incident.

"Two parents did the right thing. Two parents contacted us and notified us, they thought their kids had took part in this," he said.

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