Riot In Fort Collins

An evening in Fort Collins, Colo., that began with an Earth, Wind & Fire concert ended with a 400-person riot.

Thousands gathered at the city’s Old Town Square Aug. 23 for EWF at Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest. Large crowds remained in the area after the show, according to the Coloradoan. At around 1 a.m., two men got into a bar fight and, after they were ejected, began to scuffle in the middle of the Square. The surrounding crowd got aggressive and several other fights broke out.

“I think it was just a matter of a lot of intoxicated people being downtown at the same time,” a witness told the paper. “I’m sure the tear gas didn’t help.”

As police tried to break up the fights, people began throwing beer bottles, patio furniture and other objects at them. The mob also damaged cars, stole items from vendor tents and set trashcans on fire, a Fort Collins police spokeswoman told the Coloradoan.

Police surrounded the square, and the mob reportedly faced them off against them. When the riot was finally stopped, several stores had been damaged and vendor tents had been set on fire.

“Thousands and thousands of dollars” of purses, scarves and accessories were lost when one of the tents was set on fire, a witness told the paper.

Police are reviewing videotape to see if arrests are appropriate. It is the worst riot of its kind in Fort Collins since 2004, when there was a similar disturbance.