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Law enforcement officials have detained over 160 people in Panama City Beach following a spring break weekend that saw massive crowds of people disrupting the area, officials said.
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said that 161 people were arrested and jailed over the weekend and that officers seized 75 guns amid their clashes with these individuals, WRIC reported.
FLORIDA’S PANAMA CITY BEACH SPRING BREAK REVELERS PROMPT POLICE STREET CLOSURES, REPORT SAYS
“What we saw this past weekend is absolutely unacceptable. Period,” said Police Chief J.R. Talamantez, who also confirmed that several businesses closed their doors on Friday as the crowds gathered and disrupted the normal flow of business, according to the report.
“The crowd that has been here this weekend, there is [sic] no words that can describe the way they have behaved themselves, conducted themselves, and the amount of laws they have broken,” he added.
Videos taken at a local Walmart showed rowdy shoppers tossing around merchandise, WRIC reported.
A heavy police presence was then called into the area to assist these businesses, who did not wish to risk any inconvenience or harm to their customers or business, the Panama City chief said.
SPRING BREAKERS LET LOOSE AMID NATIONWIDE CRIME SPIKE, CURFEW ENACTED IN ONE POPULAR DESTINATION
There were no reports of violence from the first day of the weekend, but a shooting incident on Saturday left one person injured, Talamantez explained, noting that many of the arrested people had firearms with them.
“I personally encountered an individual holding an AR-15 who is now in custody,” Talamantez said, according to the WRIC report.
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“These are the type of individuals that we’re facing,” he added. “Throwing beer bottles at police officers. Shooting right down the road. There were blue lights up and down the road as these shootings took place. The blatant disregard for public safety that these individuals are having will not be tolerated.”
Mayor Mark Sheldon said the crime was not caused by the spring breakers, but by criminals who came out under the shroud of the crowds.