2017-03-16 / Front Page

Police deal with surging crowd on beach

Officers use pepper spray, arrest about eight

Zach Perkins

Reporter

Police were forced to contend with hundreds of Spring Breakers who stampeded from the beach into the dunes in Port Aransas to watch police chase two men suspected of fighting on Wednesday, March 15.

The incident, which occurred about 6 p.m. near Pole 30, resulted in about eight arrests, mostly for public intoxication, said Sgt. Mike Hannon, a detective with the Port Aransas Police Department.

The mob appeared not to intend violence but to watch and use their cell phones to film the police action. (A South Jetty reporter witnessed the event.)

Still, Hannon said people needed to stay back and let police do their jobs.

Police were already on the scene, watching a large group of Spring Breakers partying, when the fight broke out between two men.

Officers intervened, but one of the men slipped away and ran into the dunes. The man was eventually caught, but not before a crowd of hundreds followed in pursuit, crossing the beach road and up the dunes.

Officers attempted to contain the crowd, but were forced to use pepper spray on those who did not get out of the area, Hannon said.

“When people mob, they are interfering with police,” said Hannon.

The fiasco lasted about 10 minutes. Hannon, who was among officers on the beach, said he was pleased that police were able to get the crowd under control so quickly.

No injuries were reported by police or Spring Breakers, Hannon said.

Such events aren’t exactly common in Port Aransas.

“It’s happened in the past (on the beach in Port Aransas), but it doesn’t happen every year,” he said.

Aside from the mob incident, the Spring Break holiday has been without major incidents, said Hannon. No serious crimes have been reported.

PAPD soon will have additional support for what are expected to be the busiest days of the holiday.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will have a helicopter in Port Aransas on Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18, to assist PAPD with any missing persons calls or anyone who escapes police custody, said Hannon.

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