Riot’s 911 calls: ‘They’re uncontrollable’ - KMSP-TV

Riot’s 911 calls: ‘They’re uncontrollable’

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Newly released 911 calls Monday are providing more details about a riot that broke out at the Avon Park Youth Academy in Polk County.

The sheriff's office is now stepping in to investigate what led to an all-out frenzy – with juvenile delinquents ransacking buildings, setting things on fire and throwing TVs through windows.

The school is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Juvenile Justice and is used as a rehabilitation and vocational school for moderate-risk young offenders, but on Saturday, deputies say it was the site of a wild scene.

Deputies say the majority of the school's students participated in the riot, which started just before 9 p.m. and quickly spiraled out of control.

"We are having a riot situation out here on the facility with these juveniles, and we need assistance," says one woman in the initial 911 call.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said a brawl broke out after a pick-up basketball game.  

"There was a group of kids from Orlando and a group from St. Petersburg, and they had bet three packages of Ramen noodles over the game. The Orlando team won; the St. Pete team wouldn't pay up," Judd said.

Judd said Tuesday in an interview with FOX 13 that the juveniles saw it as an opportunity to incite violence. Of the 138 teenage male students, Judd said a majority started rioting and quickly overtook the 19 staff at the facility.

"They're uncontrollable at this time," the 911 call continues.

"I watched them break windows. I watched them jump on golf carts and ride around and holler and yell at law enforcement," Judd said.

More than 150 law enforcement officers in full riot-gear spent four hours regaining control of the situation. Seven students were hurt and taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

The sheriff's office says most of the injuries were self-inflicted, as students were punching through windows. One student's leg was broken after he says someone ran over it with a stolen golf cart.

Judd said all of them shut down the antics, as soon as deputies took back control.

Parents found out about the riot on the news.

"I sobbed. I really actually fell down and sobbed. I thought, ‘is my kid alright?'" said Jill Elkington, whose son is an Avon Park Youth Academy student.

Elkington didn't get much consolation Sunday. Visitation was closed as investigators sorted the damage in 18 of the campus's 20 buildings.

"I was up all night and then drove all day today. No one called to say visitation would be canceled," she said.

Judd said detectives have a lot of work to do, as they interview a school's worth of possible suspects over the costly crime. Judd said the students caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the campus.

One of the issues is there were no security cameras at the facility. He, however, believes the staff did not have the proper protective equipment to keep things under control.

"According to their par standards, they can only go so far as hands-on, to grab a child or grab the kid … It doesn't work too well when you have groups of kids fighting," he said. "You see what the end result was."

Judd is hoping to press charges against many of the boys who caused the riot.

Two of the students injured were still in the hospital on Sunday.

Sheriff Judd said students that weren't involved will be moved to the campus lunchroom until campus repairs are complete. Judd said dozens had to be taken to a nearby jail, though they were kept separate from the adult inmates.

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