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Extraterrestrial beings at a Miami shopping center? Law enforcement responds with laughter

Adolescents fleeing, law enforcement assembling and a grey blotch that appears to be in motion: Footage from an open-air shopping center in Miami fueled extravagant assertions this week on social media that aliens had arrived on Earth. However, the reality is much more earthly.

On Monday, a gang of around 50 teenagers incited a commotion at Bayside Marketplace, an open-air shopping center approximately 5 miles from South Beach, as per the Miami Police Department.

The teenagers were igniting fireworks, which caused a panic as some assumed there was a shooting, stated Miami Police Department public information officer Michael Vega. Four teenagers were apprehended.

Police were dispatched “for crowd control due to the juveniles refusing to leave,” Vega mentioned in an email to NBC News. “Some businesses were temporarily closed to allow us to clear the area.”

In the aftermath of the episode, individuals on social media embarked on a frenzy of speculation, focusing on what they labeled as “Miami Shopping Center Extraterrestrials.” Some alleged law enforcement was reacting to aliens, rather than teenagers. Several people scrutinized the video of the incident circulating online and professed they could discern an alien figure in the grainy footage. Others promptly shared memes.

Although many of the reactions online seemed light-hearted, the posts demonstrate just how rapidly and effortlessly misinformation can disseminate on social media. The reaction also underscores a surge in curiosity about extraterrestrial activity, from hearings in Congress last summer regarding “unidentified aerial phenomena” or “UAPs” to Mexico’s Congress showcasing what it asserted were “nonhuman” aliens. Both of those events also became prime meme material.

Nevertheless, Vega asserted aliens had no connection to Monday’s incident.

“There were no aliens,” he stated in the email. “No airports were closed. Nothing is being withheld from the public. LOL.”

Nevertheless, by Friday afternoon, “Miami Shopping Center Extraterrestrial” was trending on the social media site X.

“10ft Aliens/Creatures (caught on camera?) fired at inside and outside Miami Shopping Center, media silent, cops are covering it up saying kids were fighting with fireworks, yet all these cop cars, & air traffic stopped that night except for black military choppers…and no media coverage,” contended one post on X, which on Friday appeared to prompt a plethora of conspiracy theories and memes.

One individual shared what seemed to be an AI image of a generic alien holding shopping bags and quipped that it was “The Miami Shopping Center Extraterrestrial.”

Another individual posted an image of golfer Tiger Woods extending his hand, as if to shake another person’s hand, with the caption: “Me to the aliens if I’d been at the Miami shopping center.”

Others observed that the new year was sure to be tumultuous if aliens had been sighted just days into January.

“5th day into the New Year now people spotting Aliens in the Miami Shopping Center 2024 is in for one hell of a ride,” the individual wrote.

Certainly, there were some who pondered: If there was an alien sighting, where’s the evidence?

“Everybody have cell phones, but nobody have an up close video of the 8-10 foot alien by the Miami shopping center?” wrote one X user.

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