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Fort Collins’ Old Town district erupted with rioting early Sunday morning as Fort Collins police responded to three separate disturbances in the area involving large crowds of people, according to a press release.
The release, from Fort Collins Police Services, said the crowd assembled at the intersection of Mountain and College Avenues, throwing “beer bottles, patio furniture and other objects at police, damaged cars, stole items from New West Fest vendor tents, and set trash cans on fire.”
As of mid-morning Sunday, CSU Public Relations said FCPS had not identified any students as participants, but CSU spokeswoman Dell Rae Moellenberg said the university will be notified by the department if any student is implicated in the riot.
“If there were students involved, as bystanders or participants, in addition to facing criminal charges from police, they will face disciplinary action form the university,” Moellenberg said.
Hugo Caballero, 18, and Taylor Lods, 18, of Fort Collins said they saw police cruisers and SWAT vehicles rushing down College Avenue toward Old Town around 1:30 a.m. Both said they had been tear gassed by police near Old Town Square after following police.
“Next thing we know cops were running at us with paintball guns,” Lods said. According to both Lods and Caballero, along with others at the scene, police had used paintballs filled with mace on the overwhelming crowd.
One bystander on the scene ran off a slew of obscenities at officers, saying he’d been “shot and maced” with the paintballs.
According to the release, several people were injured during the fights; two people who were thrown through a window were taken to a hospital for treatment.
Officials at Poudre Valley Hospital confirmed that several people were taken to the hospital with injuries resulting from the riot.
Several people were issued citations for disorderly conduct and fighting in public, and arrests may be pending, according to the release.
No officers were injured. Fort Collins Police Services were assisted by SWAT team, Larimer County deputies and the CSU Police Department.
The Fort Collins Downtown Business Association called the incident “unfortunate and not a true representation of the safe and enjoyable environment that the community has come to know,” in a release Sunday.
The association said crowds from Saturday’s Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest event, featuring the band Earth, Wind & Fire, had emptied the area before any fighting began and vendors had emptied inventory before the concert.
According to the release, today’s NewWestFest activities and performances will continue as planned.
Managing Editor Johnny Hart can be reached at email@example.com.