PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria police detectives are looking for the individuals involved in a fight at Peoria Stadium at approximately 8 p.m. Friday.
According to a Peoria police press release, the stadium was evacuated after school resource officers struck their batons against the metal bench to break up a fight that involved several adults and juveniles.
The sound was misheard by many and caused many people to run from their seats.
Peoria Police Juvenile Detectives are currently following up on this investigation and are working to arrest any individuals involved in the fight.
Chief Echevarria said there are 12 persons of interest, including 11 juveniles and one adult.
“Our high school student-athletes deserve the opportunity to have their sporting events in peace
and showcase their skills,” Echevarria said. “We will not tolerate anyone wanting to cause problems at what should be a family fun event. We will arrest all those who want to cause havoc and disorder.”
According to Echevarria, police will have discussions with Peoria Public Schools’ leadership regarding safety at sporting events and it may be time to look at some changes, although the ultimate decision is in the district’s hands.
“Maybe it’s time to have a football game at 8 or 9 in the morning,” Echevarria said. “Those crowds that you’re going to have at 8 or 9 in the morning are probably going to be the people to support the team, not to cause havoc.”
Chief Echevarria also said he would advise against using batons against bleachers, due to the panic it caused.
The Illinois High School Association has also chimed in regarding the incident on Friday.
“This was an incredibly disappointing situation on a night that should have celebrated the return of high school football in two communities with proud traditions. The fact that the players from both schools lost the opportunity to complete the game, due to no fault of their own, is really a shame. Unfortunately, we are seeing incidents of unruly fan behavior on the rise around the country. This should serve as a reminder that it can happen anywhere and put all IHSA member schools on notice to be vigilant. Unbridled passion is what makes high school sports great, but fighting in the stands cannot and will not be tolerated.”– Craig Anderson, Illinois High School executive director
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Peoria Police Juvenile Detective Irving at 309-494-8368, tip411 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 309-673-9000.