Gunshots were fired and numerous fights broke out at 1:30 a.m. Sunday as a wild party got out of control causing law enforcement to call for backup.
Hempstead County Sheriff’s Deputies Steven Dunham and Kyle Rowe were dispatched to a gym in Hope, Ark., at the request of a private security company that was attempting to provide security for a party at the establishment.
“Upon arrival, Deputies Dunham and Rowe walked around the parking lot and made sure there were no altercations. The deputies contacted one of the security officers who advised the deputies that there were approximately 500 people at the function,” said James A. Singleton, Sheriff.
“While talking to the security officer they were advised of a fight in the building. Deputies Dunham and Rowe went inside and assisted the security officers with the fight. The security officers advised that the subject was pepper-sprayed and asked the deputies if they would escort him outside.”
Once the deputies were outside they observed yet another fight in the parking lot. Deputies and security officers were able to break that fight up after the security officers again used pepper spray on the subjects that were fighting, Sheriff Singleton said.
After breaking up the fight, the subject was detained by security officers. Several attendees attempted to free the detained individual, however, as Deputies Dunham and Rowe tried to keep the crowd from freeing the subject, he added.
“Deputies Dunham and Rowe encountered several more individuals fighting outside. Deputies and security officers again deployed pepper spray to break up the fights. At that point, the crowd of approximately 300 people surrounded the deputies, preventing them from taking the subjects into custody,” he said.
As the crowd became even more aggressive towards the Deputies and security officers, the crowd formed a circle standing back to back. Deputies radioed for assistance and Hope City Police units and Arkansas State Police Troopers responded, Sheriff Singleton said.
While waiting for assistance, several people from the crowd started throwing beer bottles, gas cans and rocks at the deputies and security officers. But just as the crowd started to disperse, yet another fight started by the road way.
“Deputies and security officers went to break that fight up and deputies attempted to place those subjects in hand cuffs. But another fight started once again as subjects started fleeing into the crowd. Due to the amount of people on the scene, deputies decided not to pursue the subjects into the aggressive crowd,” the Sheriff said.
“As deputies were attempting to break a fight up, a gun shot was fired by someone in the crowd. The crowd became more aggressive towards the deputies and security officers. The only way they were able to make it to the gym was by gun point. Hope City Officers and ASP Troopers arrived to assist the deputies and the crowd began to disperse.
About 100 to 150 people then starting gathering at the Exxon Station and McDonald’s on Hervey Street. Hope Officers, deputies and troopers went to the locations and were able to disperse the crowds from the businesses, Sheriff Singleton said.