An attempt to shut down a party near the campus of Western Washington University in Bellingham on Saturday night led to students rioting in the street, requiring a SWAT team using tear gas and flash grenades to quell the uproar.
Around 500 college-aged people gathered in the street throwing beer bottles, ripping street signs out of the ground, dancing on cars and chanting obscenities at the police, after authorities attempted around 9 p.m. to shut down a party.
“There was drinking, it became disorderly and pretty much an out-and-out riot,” police Sgt. Mike Scanlon told the Associated Press.
It took authorities more than an hour to disperse the crowd, according to KCPQ-TV.
(WARNING: Videos below contain profanity)
Video captured by cell phones showed some of the stand off between partiers and police:
One person was seen streaking:
Some students apparently threw plates:
— christian zerbel (@christianzerbel) October 13, 2013
Cinder blocks and lawn chairs were also thrown at police, the Bellingham Herald reports.
The WWU administration is not happy about the event at all.
In a statement, WWU President Bruce Shepard and student government President Carly Roberts said "we are all straining to understand why something like this happened."
"This 'riot' in the community we are proud to call home has stunned us all, for it is so out of character," Shepard and Roberts said. "We are a university consistently recognized as the best of our type in the Pacific Northwest. Importantly in the current context, we are also a university recognized nationally, year after year, as foremost in the state of Washington for the engagement of our students in service to the community."
The two also suggested that students who participated in the rioting may face expulsion, warning "should any of our students be found to have engaged in lawless and destructive behavior, they have no place at Western."
Roberts went on to describe the crowd to KIRO Radio as "a bunch of young, ignorant people with alcohol."
There was so much smashed glass, WWU junior Emma Smith told KIRO-TV "The entire street was just shimmering."
Bellingham Police Chief Cliff Cook said they are reviewing videos and photos posted online, which could result in additional charges.
"In this day in age of the abundance of social media," Cook said in a news release, "no one can partake in this type of violent behavior and remain anonymous."