Several youths arrested after police fire pepper balls into chaotic Willowick festival crowd (video)
Video posted on social media shows a crowd running from pepper balls as chaos broke out during a Willowick festival.
WILLOWICK, Ohio (WOIO) - Chaos broke out Sunday night at a Willowick festival, leading to the arrests of 10 juveniles, including one who had a gun, though no shots were fired according to police.
Willowick Police Chief Brian Turner estimated that hundreds of juveniles showed up at the fair, multiple fights broke out and that the juveniles then began rampaging through the fair.
“Our officers did the best they could, it’s not like you have 1 or 2 people that are causing the problem and you go and contain them, it turns into a riotous situation, a mob mentality,” Turner said, “It doesn’t equate with me, I am thoroughly disgusted with and I know the residents are thoroughly disgusted with it.”
Turner said he absolutely supported the officer who fired a pepper ball gun as the crowd spilled out from the fair into the streets surrounding the church.
Bianca Marcellino, who grew up in the neighborhood, and has attended the fair for years said it was disturbing to watch the scene unfold. She had just sat down to have dinner under the big tent with her parents.
“All of a sudden there’s like a hundred people swarming through the festival running and jumping on tables and chairs, yelling, running right through the police, the police are trying to get them to stop running through,” Marecellino said as she noticed families and children scrambling for safety, “They’re terrified, so people start running they don’t know what’s going on, they don’t know what to do, there’s kids crying.”
One woman, according to police who was trying to drive out of the mayhem, asked a group of juveniles to move out of the way as they were blocking the street. The woman was beaten, and kicked in the head when she fell to the ground.
Father Steven Breck the pastor of St Mary Magdalene sad simply he was sad and disappointed, that the event was set up to be an event for families to enjoy time together and relax.
“I am very concerned I hope to provide something in the future that is very safe. Changes do need to be made,” Fr. Breck said.
Photos obtained by 19 News show the aftermath of near-empty festival grounds; Willowick police said the event closed early due to the situation.
Willowick police were assisted on scene by Eastlake, Wickliffe, Willoughby, Willoughby Hills and Kirtland police departments.
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