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WWU student body president: Riot was a bunch of young, ignorant people with alcohol

In this photo provided by Lauren Boushey, hundreds of college-age revelers crowd a street late Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Bellingham, Wash., as police try to disperse the crowd. Multiple partiers were arrested during a melee late Saturday and early Sunday in Bellingham, according to police Sgt. Mike Scanlon. (AP Photo/Lauren Boushey)

Police in Bellingham needed pepper spray and a huge show of force to break up a riot near the Western Washington University campus Saturday night.

It was as nasty of a scene as they’ve had in Bellingham in a while. An unruly crowd of nearly 500 college-age people dancing on cars, ripping down traffic signs and throwing beer bottles and cans at police.

They had gathered at Laurel Park, just off campus, after the police broke up a rather large apartment party about 9 p.m. Saturday night.

Officers used pepper spray and other tactics to disperse the crowd, but it took 45 minutes to get everything under control.

Three people were arrested at the time, but none of them were Western students.

“It was a bunch of young, ignorant people with alcohol, and things got out of hand,” said WWU student body president Carly Roberts.

Many more arrests could happen. Bellingham Police detectives are going over hundreds of images from social media and surveillance videos to try and identify those involved in bottle throwing or other unruly activities.

If any of them are WWU students, they could be expelled.

“As a representative of students and a member of the Bellingham community, it makes me very sad,” Roberts said. “This is not representative of Western Washington University students.”

A joint statement from Roberts and WWU President Bruce Shepard said the university is stunned by the riot and looking to understand why things got out of hand.

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