Oct 14, 2013 01:01 PM EDT
Washington State Riot: Police Use Pepper Spray, Sound Grenades and Tear Gas On College-Age Kids
Police controlled a riot of college-aged partiers using pepper spray and tear gas on Saturday night in the university town of Bellingham, Washington, The Associated Press reported.
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The riot manifested as an offshoot from a previously disbanded party at a nearby apartment complex, the AP reported. The group from the overcrowded apartment moved to Laurel Park, where their numbers quickly increased by other groups. Together, the congregation of nearly 500 people formed what police Sgt. Mike Scanlon called a "large, intoxicated crowd."
"There was drinking, it became disorderly and pretty much an out and out riot," Sgt. Scanlon. told the AP.
Lauren Boushey, a junior at Western Washington University, commented on the innocuous intent of the apartment party.
"It was set up to be ... this really nice night and nothing reckless or ridiculous like it turned into," she said Sunday.
In Laurel Park, the scene "finally boiled over," Scanlon said. "They began hurling projectiles at police."
"They got this horrible ignorant mob mentality," Boushey said after witnessing police officers get hit by thrown bottles. "It was so sad and disrespectful to watch."
Forty five minutes later, officers restored order using pepper spray, sound grenades, and tear gas, according to the AP. Effects of tear gas include blurry vision, burning eyes, runny noses, coughing, and rash.
"It was very surreal," said Victoria Sewell, a WWU senior who walked past the scene while walking to a friend's house." There were so many police cars and people. I've never seen anything like that in Bellingham."
According to the AP, three arrests were made, none of which were Western students, according to a statement made by WWU President Bruce Shepard and Western Associated Student Body President Carly Roberts on Sunday afternoon. The school will investigate the matter further.