OCEAN CITY – A major riot involving hundreds at a downtown underage nightclub on the Fourth of July provided fireworks of a different sort as 15 arrests were made and three Ocean City police officers were injured in a fight attributed to gang activity.
Around 9:20 p.m. last Friday, as thousands of vacationers and residents scrambled to safety from a severe storm after the fireworks display downtown concluded, OCPD officers responded to the H20 underage nightclub on Worcester Street for a reported fight in progress. Before police were able to gain control of the scene, several more fights broke out in the area.
Initially, there were nine OCPD officers trying to control a fight involving over 75 people inside the nightclub. After club management was forced to close the establishment and OCPD officers began to remove the combatants, several more fights broke out both inside the club and outside. According to police reports, roughly 300 to 400 people were involved in the various fights in and around the underage club and 63 OCPD officers were brought in to attempt to bring order back to the area.
After about 40 minutes, police were able to clear the area and restore some semblance of order. After interviewing several of the suspects, resort police determined the fight was started by member of rival gangs based out of Salisbury.
Three OCPD officers were injured during the melee and had to be treated at Atlantic General Hospital. Officer Chris Reichard suffered a broken nose and Officer Kevin Dagstani was treated for a knee injury. In one instance of friendly fire, Pfc. Mike Richardson was treated for bite wounds after his K-9 dog became agitated by the crowd. One suspect was treated for a cut on his arm.
All in all, 15 arrests were made.
For all the week’s news, see The Dispatch on Friday morning.