"We got there at 7:30 a.m. and there were already a thousand people there," said Angela Accomazzo, 18, a senior at San Ramon Valley High who attended with several friends.
The event at the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco was set to help generate excitement for the upcoming release of the movie "Twilight." The first in a series of books by Stephenie Meyer, "Twilight" tells the tale of teenaged Bella Swan and her love for the vampire Edward Cullen.
The series has captivated the minds and hearts of millions of readers across the world. Hollywood has created its own version of the story, which goes on screens nationwide Nov. 21.
Excited by the upcoming film, thousands of fans converged on the mall Monday, Nov. 10, for a chance to see Robert Pattinson, the actor tasked with portraying the charismatic Edward Cullen. The event, expected to generate positive buzz about the film, ended badly with a minor riot breaking out and at least one girl suffering minor injuries and leaving the scene in an ambulance.
The event, sponsored by Hot Topic store, was to have attendees buy a $30 Twilight tour shirt. In exchange they would be given a wristband that they could use to get a movie poster that would be signed by Pattinson at 6 p.m. that evening.
Accomazzo said she thinks the mall didn't expect the size of the turnout, which directly led to the problems that ensued.
"There were people who camped out all night," she said. "A lot of people had blankets on. The mall people just weren't ready for that many people."
The teens were amazed at the size of the turnout as well, surprised by the crowd when they arrived at 7:30 a.m.
Reports say that the crowd began pushing into the mall and one girl was pushed into a wall and injured. Unconfirmed reports say she may have broken her nose. Accomazzo said three other girls fainted in the press of the crowd.
"There were just so many people and it was just so claustrophobic," she said. "Maybe they hyperventilated and fainted."
Accomazzo and four of her friends arrived at the tail end of the fracas and were informed that the entire event had been cancelled.
"I was just so bummed," she said. "We didn't know if we should leave or not. A lot of people didn't leave because they thought the police were saying it was cancelled so they'd leave."
The Danville teenagers hung around the mall area throughout the day but never heard whether the handsome British actor would still make an appearance. They made their weary way home only to find that Pattinson did indeed show up at the store.
"My friend's mom texted her that she saw it on the news that he still came to the store and met with the people who had on the orange wristbands," said Accomazzo.
She said that while she was disappointed with the day's events, it hasn't cooled her passion for the upcoming film. "I really loved 'Twilight' and I'm excited about the movie so, yeah, I'm still going to see it when it opens."