O’FALLON – Police responded to a large crowd of high school students, estimated to be around 300, in front of VFW Post 805 Saturday night.
The teenagers were attending a birthday party at the VFW when, according to police, fights reportedly began to break out. Additionally, as the party grew too large for the facility and began to spill into West First Street in front of the VFW, witnesses at a nearby business said large groups of kids were walking through the downtown area “hooting and hollering.” Police were called and multiple units responded, shutting down West First Street from South Cherry to South Oak at around 10 p.m.
Officer Eric Buck was the supervisor on duty and the original responding officer. He estimated there to be approximately 300 youths outside as the event ended.
The crowd quickly dispersed as authorities arrived. No arrests were made and police say that anyone officers made contact with cooperated fully.
According to Captain Jim Cavins of the O’Fallon Police Department, it’s believed social media may have played a role in the crowd size expanding as much as it did.
A similar incident happened back on June 25 at the VFW when a graduation party grew out of control. Cavins said the crowd at that event, while large, was not as large as Saturday night.
Cavins said that incidents like this are not just a problem in O’Fallon and that the police department works with officials at facilities like the VFW afterwards to guide them as to how to properly vet a potential hall rental applicant.
The police are still investigating whether or not the hall rental applicant allegedly lied to VFW officials regarding what type of party it would be and how many people would be attending.