Originally created 03/18/06

Party crowd turns to riot



SAVANNAH, Ga. - Coastal authorities worked Friday to determine what caused a Thursday night riot involving 1,000 to 1,500 teenagers that injured several policemen at a Garden City community center.

Police say numerous fights broke out at a radio station-sponsored party at the Progressive Recreation Center on Ogeechee Road. The fights quickly escalated into a riot, police said. A security guard called 911 at about 9:30 p.m. after the crowd became unmanageable, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Wilson said.

Officers arrived and found the center was over capacity, Garden City Police Chief David Lyons said. It could hold about 200 people, and nearly 1,500 showed up and were denied access after purchasing $20 tickets. When security guards tried to shut the doors, the crowd rushed the officers.

Savannah-Chatham police arrived and called in Garden City, Pooler and Port Wentworth officers as backup. At least two injuries were reported. One juvenile was taken to a hospital by parents. Five people were arrested.

As the officers closed the doors and refused to let any more people in, the crowd outside grew angry, Chief Lyons said.

A call to Cumulus Broadcasting, which operates radio station E-93, was not immediately returned.