VANCOUVER, Wash. — Nine juveniles were arrested after a fight turned into a riot at a basketball tournament at Gaiser Middle School in Vancouver on Friday evening, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said.
On Monday afternoon, the Vancouver School District announced that it has "emergency expelled" the nine students who were arrested. "They are from multiple schools and are not allowed on any school campus," the district announced in a statement Monday afternoon.
"School administrators are reviewing video of the incident and will respond with appropriate disciplinary actions," Superintendent Steve Webb said. "The behavior displayed on Friday night will not be tolerated, and every student involved will be held accountable."
A 13-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl were in court Monday. The boy was charged with third-degree assault, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The girl was charged with third-degree assault and criminal mischief.
The other seven teenage defendants did not appear in court. Privacy laws protect their cases. But in general, first-time offenders or those charged with certain lesser crimes may be eligible for diversion programs.
Deputies responded to the school at around 5:40 p.m. after school officials came under attack while they tried to remove a kid from the gym.
"When we got here there was a mob that was around the school staff trying to deal with the kids that were being the problem and they were actually being assaulted while they were trying to deal with one of the problem kids," said Sgt. Chad Rothenberger with the Clark County Sheriff's Office.
No details about what the kid did were immediately released.
As deputies attempted to address the kid, they were met with racial slurs, cursing and death threats by a group of 60-70 teenagers, according to the sheriff's office.
"When we got there we were instantly met with hostilities. We were called the N-word, profanities, threatened with assault threatened to kills us," Rothenberger said.
Denine Blas lives across the street from the school and saw part of the brawl.
“[The kids] were out of control. They were screaming foul words and names, and they just started fighting with everybody all over again. The school counselors were there, the school police were there, all the Vancouver PD was there. It was out of control. It was crazy,” she said.
Deputies called for backup after the scene turned into a riot. It took more than 30 officers from three different agencies to get the situation under control. Blas said officers were slamming kids into walls and throwing them into cars.
One deputy suffered minor injuries while struggling with one of the suspects, the sheriff's office said.
Rothenberger said he had never seen anything like it in his 25 years of working in law enforcement.
“It was just like being in an episode of the Twilight Zone. It was really crazy really quickly,” he said.
In total nine kids were arrested and charged with trespassing, failure to leave, assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.