Mall guard fired after altercation

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – A security guard involved in a physical altercation was fired Monday.

Director of Corporate Communications Joe Bell said the matter has been taken to the Belmont County prosecutor to determine if any charges are to be filed.

The incident began when a woman was taking pictures of accident on Interstate 70. She was photographing the accident on mall property, which is against policy. The security guard asked that she desist.

“Internally, our security division reviewed the scene and gathered information about the incident to determine if the officer involved met the standards. They determined she did not, so her employment was terminated,” he said.

He added that one lesson they will take away from the incident is to ensure their people are trained properly and maintaining the standards instilled in their training.

“When you step back from it all, you see a situation not handled in the calm, professional manner it should have,” he said.

Bell said he has heard few complaints that were out of the ordinary, with the majority of issues being occasions of drunk or disorderly conduct.

He added that the rules of any mall are clearly posted at the entrances. One such rule forbids photography without prior approval.

Bell said in the past, there were cases of people creating what appeared to be accident scenes and suing the mall, scouting out jewelry cases and security measures in preparation for a theft, or otherwise creating a hazard.

“That’s why most malls formulated that rule,” he said.

He added that in deference to the ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate to relate specifics of the incident at this time.

“This was an unpleasant incident and we’re just dealing with it as it comes.”

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