A 200-person brawl was reportedly sparked inside a Virginia skating rink when the wrong song came on.
The incident took place in Roanoke, where authorities said the Star City Skate Center was filled with hundreds of teenagers for a pre-Christmas party over the weekend. As VirginiaFirst reported, the crowd was made up of many rival gang members, and the tensions spilled over when a certain song started to play.
Witnesses told the newspaper that many of the teenagers began to flash gang signs during the song, which led to fights breaking out. The situation finally started to calm and the teens made their way into the parking lot, but the report noted that a number of smaller fights started to break out in the lot.
Witness Nicholas Gilliam Jr. said someone in the crowd flashed a gun, and though he said it was not fired, it led to some very scary moments.
“Honestly I didn’t want to die. I did not want to die,” he said.
Gilliam said one of his friends was knocked out during the fight, which broke out within minutes of when he arrived.
Some of the other witnesses reported that a shot was fired at some point during the brawl, but police investigated and said in a press release that “at this point there is no evidence to corroborate the shots fired complaint,” the Roanoke Times reported.
News of the brawl attracted national attention, with many sharing the strange nature of the brawl and the fact that it was sparked by a song. A number of other cities have also seen Christmas and pre-Christmas brawls among groups of teenagers who are apparently not filled with the Christmas spirit. As the Buffalo News noted, for several consecutive years there were brawls among groups of teens in a local mall during the week of Christmas. This prompted mall management to increase the number of security on duty, leading the ejection of large groups of unruly and combative teenagers.
Though reports indicated that hundreds of people may have been involved in the fighting in the Roanoke skating rink, police did not make any arrests and turned over the minors on the scene to their parents to be taken home, the New York Post reported. Police are continuing to investigate the brawl, including whether it was gang-related.
They also did not reveal what song it was that caused the skating rink to erupt in a brawl.
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