Santa Barbara: Riot Breaks Out at Spring Break Party Near Campus

Monday, 07 Apr 2014 03:32 PM

By Angela Deines

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A violent riot broke out at a Santa Barbara party over the weekend, injuring several law enforcement officers and dozens of other people near the University of California Santa Barbara campus.

An estimated 15,000 people attended the “Deltopia” spring break bash, KTLA-TV reported.

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The riot broke out when a UCSB police officer was hit in the head with a backpack containing large bottles of alcohol, according to a statement released by the department after the Saturday night riot.

“It knocked him down, split his forehead open to the point that he needed extensive suturing,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told Los Angeles’ KTLA-TV.

Brown said had sheriff’s deputies not acted quickly, there would have been more injuries and possibly some fatalities.

“There could’ve been, potentially, loss of life, many more injuries much more property damage,” he said.

The large crowd that had assembled for the annual spring break party reportedly threw objects including rocks, bricks, and bottles at officers. At least five sheriff’s deputies were injured, more than 100 people were arrested, and at least 44 people were transported to the hospital, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

With the help from officers from neighboring communities, law enforcement officers were able to disperse the crowd but not before the sheriff’s department said crowd control chemicals had to be used to stop the violence that included people ripping up stop signs, lighting small fires, and other property damage. Rubber bullets and flash bang grenades were also reportedly used to break up the crowd.

Some UC Santa Barbara students blamed the riot on visitors who do not attend the university.

On Friday, area law enforcement agencies were warning students and others not to attend Deltopia after seeing that this year’s event Facebook page showed more than 11,000 people were planning to attend.

"We have planned for this event. We have more than 100 law enforcement personnel assigned and we want to do everything we can to keep everyone safe," Kelly Hoover, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer, told NBC affiliate KSBY-TV last week.

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