Super Bowl celebration turns ugly Teens in Dallas go on the attack

February 10, 1993|By Dallas Morning News

DALLAS -- Scores of teen-agers overwhelmed police after a parade to celebrate the Dallas Cowboys' victory in the Super Bowl in what a police veteran called the worst unrest he has seen in Dallas.

Although trouble surfaced more than an hour before the parade started -- with reports of cars being rocked and crowd tensions rising -- the violence erupted almost immediately after the rally at City Hall Plaza ended yesterday afternoon.

Groups of teen-agers targeted victims walking in the West End. Youth gangs attacked one another and beat and kicked bystanders.

Souvenir vendors were robbed, and stores were looted.

Police appeared overwhelmed by a crowd of some 400,000.

Many people who had taken city buses downtown were trapped in the midst of the fighting; some tried to seek refuge in office buildings, many of which locked their doors.

The packed buses were also vandalized, with windows smashed and radio antennae ripped out.

"I've never seen such mayhem," said Larry Magill of Dallas.

Police supervisors at the scene attributed the violence to "overexuberance" on the part of fans celebrating the Cowboys' winning the championship of the National Football League Jan. 31, but it was clear that many of the teens were using race and gang loyalties as reasons to attack.

"There's black people jumping on white people, and that just ain't right," said 18-year-old Yolanda Haggard, a black teen-ager who frantically looked for cover. "They're just throwing bottles and hitting each other for nothing. . . ."

Late yesterday, Mayor Steve Bartlett said police had reported 50 incidents, "mostly minor."

Fourteen were arrested and 21 were reported injured, including a man who was stabbed in the neck.

The Dallas Fire Department responded to four downtown shooting calls, according to records provided by the department. Medical teams also responded to three reported stabbings, 17 aggravated assaults, 10 medical emergencies and 18 injured-person calls.

At the height of the mayhem, half of the city's ambulances were downtown, said Carolyn Garcia, a fire department spokeswoman.

Not until 2:30 p.m. did police begin getting the situation under control, and pockets of angry people remained scattered throughout downtown for another hour. Gunfire rang out sporadically.

Many officers complained during and after the parade that the department was woefully unprepared for the crowd. More than 460 officers initially were assigned to downtown, but hundreds more were called in as the trouble began, police said.

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