At approximately 5:46 p.m. on March 12, 2020, officers of the Morgantown Police Department began receiving calls regarding a large party that had completely shut down Beverly Avenue between 4th and 6th Streets.
Officers arrived on scene and found a very large crowd, blocking the street, congregating on rooftops, consuming alcohol, and creating a very large disturbance in the neighborhood. Officers attempted to go door to door of the houses and direct the individuals inside or away from the area. While speaking to several individuals, suspects began throwing beer bottles, beer cans and other debris at the officers. Officers retreated from the area and notified other law enforcement agencies of the situation.
Officers attempted to disperse the crowd using a Public Address System (Loudspeaker) but were confronted by a highly agitated and intoxicated crowd. The crowd continued to grow in size and in volatility and continued to throw objects at police officers. West Virginia University Police Officers and other assisting agencies helped restrict access to the area. EMS and Fire personnel were staged adjacent to the area in case there were any injuries or fires as a result of the incident.
Warnings were issued to the crowd that they were engaging in an unlawful assembly and that they needed to leave the area. Following the warnings, officers deployed smoke grenades to the area as a means of dispersing the crowd. The smoke was ineffective at dispersing the crowd.
Members of the crowd continued to refuse to disperse from the area and continued throwing objects at officers. At approximately 6:52 p.m., officers deployed three rounds of tear gas. Upon discharge of the tear gas the crowd began to quickly disperse from the area.
Officers stayed in the area during the dispersal to make sure there were no injuries and to take enforcement action on any of the remaining subjects in the area that were engaging in criminal activity. The streets were clear, and the situation had returned to normal by 8:45 p.m.
The review of the activity and actions of this event is preliminary. Over the next several days and weeks, staff will be reviewing the body camera video, surveillance video and reviewing reports of actions and activities during this event. As with all uses of force, the incident will be reviewed for compliance with policy, training and compliance with all local, state and federal regulations. The Morgantown Police Department will be working with property owners as well as staff of West Virginia University following this incident.
Preliminary review shows that:
- Connor BUROW, 21 years of age of Fairfax, VA, was charged with a Nuisance Party and Failure to Maintain a litter free premise.
- Colin McHUGH, 19 years of age of Pilesgrove, NJ, was charged with Disorderly Conduct and Underage Consumption.
- Joseph BOGGS, 27 years of age of Morgantown, was charged with Public Intoxication.
- Syndenee WUNTS, 21 years of age of Morgantown, was charged with a Nuisance Party.
- Sarah HOGAN, 21 years of age of Woodbridge, VA, was charged with a Nuisance Party.
- Jakob GOSHEN, 20 years of age of Bloomsbury, NJ, was charged with Obstruction, Disorderly Conduct, Public Intoxication, and Underage Possession and Consumption.
- Cameron PIERCE, 20 years of age of Weirton, WV, was charged with Public Intoxication, Underage Consumption and Disorderly Conduct.
- Cole CAILOR, 19 years of age of Beaver Falls, PA, was charged with Public Intoxication, Underage Consumption and Disorderly Conduct and Destruction of Property.
- Connor BUROW, 21 years of age of Fairfax, VA, was charged following a second encounter with officer for Public Intoxication.
- Joshua LOVE, 21 years of age of Fairfax, VA, was charged with a Nuisance Party and Failure to Maintain a litter free premise.