Fights among fans halt game at halftime No injuries reported in incident at Woodlawn

December 17, 1996|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

What started as a basketball game between neighborhood rivals last night ended in chaos at Woodlawn High, as a fight among fans spilled onto the court during halftime of the contest between Randallstown and Woodlawn.

The incident began at about 8: 20 p.m., when a fight between fans broke out in the bleachers. The fight moved onto the court, where more members of the crowd of about 1,200 joined in.

Cpl. Owen Watson of the Baltimore County police department, on routine patrol at the game, was the first to intervene, spraying pepper mace into the crowd near center court, causing fans to flee out of the two exits.

Approximately 25 units from the Baltimore County police department arrived shortly thereafter to break up fights and disperse the crowd. No one was reported injured, though one woman was treated by paramedics at the scene for an asthma attack. No arrests were made at the scene.

"There were seven or eight fights going on," said Corporal Watson. "I was surrounded, and the other officer was surrounded, and there was no other choice but to spray mace."

Woodlawn principal Dr. James Wilson said the incident was a result of ongoing tensions between factions from the two schools and said six students had been identified as instigators.

"I have to do an appropriate investigation and proper action will be taken," said Dr. Wilson.

Most spectators were bewildered by the incident. Randallstown teacher Brian Morrison said that friction between the schools has been escalating in recent years.

"It's just a rivalry that got out of hand," said Morrison. "They decided to bring it in here. This is crazy."

The game was postponed at halftime with Randallstown leading, 31-25. Dr. Wilson said it has yet to be decided whether or not the teams will complete the game, but if they do, it will likely be without fans.

Pub Date: 12/17/96

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