Police break up rowdy snow day near West Virginia University

Police officers were called to an area near the campus of West Virginia University Friday to break up a snow day party that turned rowdy.

Morgantown Police Department Chief Ed Preston told the Daily Athenaeum, the school’s student newspaper, that a large crowd gathered on Spruce Street in Morgantown near the university. The school canceled classes due to snow and cold temperatures.

"We had winter sports activities that turned into criminal behavior and violence," Preston told the Daily Athenaeum. "They started attacking city workers as they plowed the streets."

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The chief said he estimated the crowd had between 750 to 900 people. The crowd started throwing objects, including glass bottles, at officers, police said. Social media users posted videos of the scene which showed a large crowd of people gathered together. A fire was reportedly lit at one point, the media outlet reported.

Police said they fired pepper balls into structures’ walls so the crowd would get off the street. Authorities also used a long-range acoustic device, which “emits a steady annoying noise,” police said. However, after two rounds of smoke grenades were fired into the streets, the crowd began to scatter, police said.

Preston told the Daily Athenaeum that nobody was injured in the incident and no arrests were made. Bottles of alcohol were scattered on the street, according to the Washington Post. By law, the state does not allow drinking in public areas.

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West Virginia University released a statement regarding the incident.

“It is unfortunate that what began today on Spruce Street as a playful time in the snow, turned into a dangerous and threatening situation for students and law enforcement alike,” the statement read.

“The escalation apparently began when the several hundred students and others who had gathered refused reasonable instructions to disperse and began tossing glass bottles and other debris toward officers, resulting in law enforcement taking action,” the statement continued.

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The school said it “will review videos of the situation to determine if any charges should be filed.”