MORGANTOWN (KDKA/AP) – Police say eight people have been arrested and more than two dozen cited following riots that erupted in Morgantown after West Virginia University’s win over Baylor.
According to police, fans lit fires, pushed over street lights and threw rocks, beer bottles and other items at police. In all, 32 street fires and seven dumpster fires were reported.
Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston says the charges and criminal citations included underage consumption, malicious burning, destruction of property and disorderly conduct.
Preston said Tuesday in a news release that eight police cars belonging to several law enforcement agencies were damaged by rocks, beer bottles and construction debris thrown by rioters. A fire engine and two Morgantown fire marshal vehicles also were damaged.
“It becomes stressful for everyone involved, especially the firefighters and police officers, trying to get control of the situation when the crowds continue to escalate and increase around them,” City Manager Jeff Mikorski said.
According to our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a total of 114 emergency 911 calls were made that evening.
WVU football player Elijah Wellman, 20, was one of the eight people arrested. A total of 24 others were cited in the incident.
In an effort to clean up the university’s image, two marketing students have taken to social media. They came up with the hashtag #RespectfulMountaineer, which has been used more than 1,500 times since Tuesday.
“WVU educates students to be successful for the workforce, and we need to be a great representation of that,” Deonna Gandy said. “The behavior that night is not who we are or what we want to be known for.”
Students are also being encouraged to follow @RespectfulWVU on Twitter.
“While some students behaved inappropriately on Saturday night, many of us were so upset with how our second home was treated,” Chris Hickey said. “We love this town, and the success we’ve had for this campaign shows that a lot of other students as well as alumni and residents feel that way, too.”
The university has said any student found to be involved in the incidents will face sanctions, up to and including expulsion.
The university is continuing to review social media posts and video to try and identify others involved.
Mikorski said the city is also looking at a bill that would ban upholstered furniture from outdoor areas, saying while that won’t stop the behavior, it may take away some of the fuel.
Anyone with information about the riots is being asked to contact police.
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