UPDATE | 11 charged in Morgantown 'snow day riots'

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WV MetroNews) -- UPDATE 3/6/19 @ 11:10 p.m.
Charges have been filed against 11 people and more are expected in response to the “snow day riots” in Morgantown last month.

Police responded Feb. 1 to the scene of what appeared to be a large block party near what is commonly referred to as Frat Hill along Spruce Street.

According to a Morgantown Police release: Morgantown city employees were attempting to plow the street following heavy snow the previous day when police said members of the crowd began throwing beer bottles, liquor bottles, rocks, and other projectiles at officers and public works crews.

During the incident, a mattress was set on fire. Police used smoke cannisters to disperse the crowd.

The incident occurred in the third consecutive day of cancelled classes at WVU due to a combination of frigid and persistent subzero temperatures and snow.

Those charged included:

• Bauer Cipressi, 21, of Huntington, Maryland, with open container and disorderly conduct
• Chad Harper of Brecksville, Ohio, with open container and disorderly conduct
• Darius McKenzie, 20, of Vorhees, New Jersey, with malicious burning and disorderly conduct
• Dew Spearko of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with open container and disorderly conduct
• Garret Wright, age and hometown unknown, is charged with malicious burning and disorderly conduct
• Joseph Boggs, 26, of Caldwell, West Virginia, is charged with open container
• John Kleissas of Wye Mills, Maryland, is charged with disorderly conduct
• Kyle Canavan of Chesapeake, Virginia is charged with open container and disorderly conduct
• Samuel Cole of Springfield, Virginia, is charged with disorderly conduct
• Tyler Kiskis of Pasadena, Maryland, is charged with open container and disorderly conduct
• William Pierson of Charleston, West Virginia, is charged with throwing missiles and disorderly conduct

Eight of the 11 people charged reside in the 600 block of North Spruce Street. That address is listed to the Sigma Nu fraternity house, according to a city of Morgantown spokesperson.

Members of the fraternity helped clean up in the days following the disturbance.
Additional individuals will be charged upon confirmation of their identities, according to Morgantown Police.



ORIGINAL STORY 2/1/19
A situation is developing on Spruce Street near the campus of West Virginia University involving a significant congregation of people and police.

Morgantown Police are attempting to disperse a significant crowd, possibly a large party with smoke canisters. The situation was described to Dominion Post reporter Will Dean as “riot conditions.”

Additional reporting from the scene indicates a mattress was set on fire.

West Virginia University has been closed due to a combination of frigid temperatures and snow since Wednesday afternoon.

WVU released the following statement Friday evening:

"It is unfortunate that what began today on Spruce Street as a playful time in the snow, turned into a dangerous and threatening situation for students and law enforcement officers alike.

"The escalation apparently began when the several hundred students and others who had gathered refused reasonable instructions to disperse and began tossing glass bottles and other debris toward officers, resulting in law enforcement taking action.

"University officials will review videos of the situation to determine if any charges should be filed.

"We remind our students that our actions should represent our Mountaineer values. Behave responsibly, be accountable and please comply with police, who want to keep our campus, city and all of our first responders safe through this weather."




 
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