Over 500 'unruly' juveniles spark violent fights at community event in South Jersey: police

Another family event descended into chaos when police say crowds instigated numerous fights that ended with nearly a dozen arrests of juveniles as young as 13 years old.

Police say an influx of juveniles was dropped off as families waited for the Gloucester Township Day's drone light show to begin at Veterans Park on Saturday evening.

The crowd was estimated to exceed more than 500 juveniles and young adults.

Two arrests were made after the groups started fighting each other and running "recklessly" through those attending the event.

Police say the crowds remained "hostile and disorderly," causing the drone show to start early due to the "volatility of the situation."

Once the show ended, multiple fights continued over the next two hours as police dispersed the crowds, which moved to the shopping center across the street.

Several juveniles reported being assaulted, including at least two who were treated for minor injuries at the scene.


Three officers were also injured trying to break up several fights that evening.

Police say one officer was struck in the back and knocked to the ground by a 33-year-old man riding his bike into a group of officers.

He was arrested for assaulting the officer, and also charged with attempted escape after police say he tried to slip out of his handcuffs during transport.

A total of 11 people were arrested; 2 adults males and 9 juveniles ages 13 to 17.

The adult suspects were identified as Ronald Jones and Kevin Coleman.

Police say that most of the juveniles were not from Gloucester Township, and had been dropped off at the event.

The incident was declared under control shortly after 11 p.m. as nearly 70 Gloucester Township officers and at least 30 mutual aid officers from Camden County and Deptford Township responded to the chaos.

"The lawless groups of unsupervised juveniles and young people acting with total disregard for others, ruined a great family-oriented event which has taken place to raise funds for the Gloucester Township Scholarship Committee for over 40 years," Gloucester Township Police Chief David Harkins said. "This type of lawlessness and violent riotous behavior will not be tolerated, and will not define the great community of Gloucester Township."

This incident comes the weekend after crowds of juveniles caused chaos along the Jersey Shore, which ended in a teen being stabbed and one town declaring a state of emergency.

"The actions taken this past Saturday in Gloucester Township by a large group of disorderly juveniles are reprehensible and will not be tolerated," Mayor David Mayer said in a statement. "his group of juveniles, of which the overwhelming majority were not from Gloucester Township, had the sole intention of disruption and interference in Gloucester Township Day, a community family-oriented event that has been in existence for many years and raises money for scholarships for local high school students."