Skip to comments.(IL) Mob shoots fireworks at police, firefighters
Posted on 07/07/2010 2:57:18 PM PDT by Altura Ct.
ALTON - First responders from the Alton Fire Department and five officers from the Alton Police Department were attacked by a crowd of several hundred people in the Oakwood Housing Complex who shot large bottle rockets at them. The incidents occurred late Sunday and early Monday in the 700 and 800 blocks of Oakwood.
"I'm so angry," said Alton Police Chief David Hayes. "This type of conduct is not supposed to happen in civil society. This was obviously intended to be entertainment for the crowd."
Hayes added that the crowd's actions were "despicable and turn my stomach."
The confrontations began at 10:20 p.m. and within the 40 minutes it took to resolve the first incident, police were attacked three times. It started when a firetruck was dispatched to extinguish a Dumpster fire in the 700 block of Oakwood and was immediately attacked by the crowd shooting and throwing fireworks at them.
According to two police reports, Patrolman First Class Walter Wetzstein and several other officers already were on their way to the scene because of the "large amounts of fireworks being set off at that location." Both reports stated that in the past, fires have been set to "lure the fire department out so they could be attacked by fireworks."
When officers arrived, they too were attacked "by the mob" with bottle rockets thrown from behind buildings. Police responded with pepper-ball guns and at one point pursued attackers in an attempt to restore order. Officers left when firefighters were able to extinguish the Dumpster fire but quickly returned to the housing complex because of reports of people shot or injured in the 800 block of Oakwood. Police did not find anyone injured but again were attacked by fireworks and again deployed pepper-ball guns to prevent attacks.
Officers were attacked a third time in the 700 block of Oakwood when they responded to reports of a truck fire; that turned out to be a box on fire. Officers had to leave when their pepper-ball guns were out of ammunition.
At 12:29 a.m. July 5, police and fire personnel again were dispatched to the Oakwood Housing complex for a Dumpster fire in the 800 block of Oakwood. Officers were attacked with bottle rockets and again deployed pepper-ball guns. When the fire department put out the fire, police requested the Dumpster in the 900 block be soaked down in an attempt to prevent it from being set on fire. Officers left at that time to respond to other calls.
"The Fourth of July is always a very busy time for us because of fireworks. It's unfortunate that resources were tied up for a couple of hours like this" when the rest of the city might have needed them, Hayes said.
The city has taken a more proactive approach this year in curtailing the private use of fireworks. The Telegraph printed a letter from Mayor Tom Hoechst stating that fireworks were illegal in Illinois. Individuals found to have them or be discharging them would receive a non-traffic citation and would have to appear before a judge and ordered to pay a fine. If they failed to do so, a warrant would be issued for their arrest.
"The sad reality is there were likely a number of adults who participated or were spectators. They're just showing their kids 'this is the way we have fun on the Fourth of July.' It speaks to the poor parenting skills they have," Hayes said.
The police are reviewing videotapes to see how they can follow up with charges.
"If nothing else, we can identify the residences people were going in and out of and talk to them," Hayes said.
Hayes said he spoke with management of Alton's Housing Authority and they "share in our horror." He said the two departments will work together to prevent problems next year.
Andy Hightower, the Alton Housing Authority's manager, did not return a reporter's call Monday afternoon.
"This is as aggressive as I can remember an attack (of fire department personnel)," Assistant Fire Chief Tom Chappell said. "It's a bad situation when people who are sworn to help get attacked."
"It's disheartening and I support Chief Hayes' investigation into this 100 percent," Alton Fire Chief Greg Bock said.
Bock said first responders are unable to help others in an unsafe environment. He did not recall similar incidents last year but did say he has been to "dozens of incidents that involved grass fires, brush fires, EMT calls, all associated with private use of fireworks. What goes up has to come down and that creates a hazard not only for spectators but also the first responders."
The pumper truck received "no real damage" from the fireworks and a bottle rocket put a dent in one squad car. The report did not mention injuries to city personnel but one officer was sent to Alton Memorial Hospital to speak with a juvenile and her mother who claimed the girl was struck by a pepper-ball.
(Phily)4th of July Center City ‘unruly crowd’
The fire dept should have turned their deck gun on this crowd. That water comes out mighty fast and would disperse these thugs.
“Officers had to leave when their pepper-ball guns were out of ammunition”.
Why did they have pepper ball guns? If they are attacked why can’t they shoot the Criminal jerks? (with real Bullets)
This same crap is happening in my neighborhood and I don’t live in a bad neighborhood. I’ve never understood people’s fascination with firecrackers. Fireworks can be interesting when handled by professionals. But Fireworks and firecrackers are very dangerous and scare the hell out of animals and people. Disgusting.
Hey coppers, shut up and take it like a good Israeli!
< / Hamas & U.N. >
Wake up, Chief. It's not civil society, it's tribal rule. You have decades of social(ist) engineering and political correctness to thank for it.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
When I was growing up our neighborhood pooled resources and we put on our own fireworks show. It was very safe and no one got hurt. But that was back in the Dark Ages when the state thought adults could even safely own and operate guns.
The same thing happened in Dallas. The firefighters showed up to treat some burn victims, and the crowd immediately started firing bottle rockets at the fire trucks. An 18-year-old volunteer was walking a victim to the ambulance when a “man” walked up and fired a bottle rocket right at the volunteer’s head. He was burned and temporarily blinded.
Hey, I like fireworks! I’ve always wanted to drop a $100 in some super fireworks store and what sorta stuff I can bring home.
I’d never launch them at anyone, though. Or even use ‘em in dry weather.
that and a night stick upside the head
In that video it looked like a large group walking through the street. nothing other then mass J-walking it seemed to me.
Certain demographics, when numerous in a locale, tend to abhor the kind of conduct expected in a civil society. One answer is the unrestricted use of automatic weapons.
not far from where I live...I’m not surprised.
I would prefer Predator and Hellfire missiles for sh*ts and giggles.
Where might “Alton” be? There doesn’t seem to be any indication on the whole web page. Are we talking about England? If so then it is not news, or shouldn’t be. That place is desceding rapidly into utter chaos. Is it in California? Alberta, maybe?