Seven arrested, 7 hospitalized in post-Super Bowl melee at UMass

  • Two UMass Amherst police officers in riot gear arrest a young man after he allegedly dumped and threw a trashcan on UMass Amherst property outside of the Berkshire Dining commons, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. About 2,000 people gathered outside on the campus following the Patriots’ loss in the Super Bowl. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • UMass Amherst students gather in the Southwest living area after the loss of the Patriots to the Eagles, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • Two UMass Amherst police officers use PepperBall on UMass Amherst students and people rallying in the Southwest living area of the UMass Amherst campus while an arrest is occurring, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. About 2,000 students gathered outside on the campus following the Patriots’ loss in the Super Bowl. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

  • UMass Amherst police officers deployed pepper spray on revelers in the Southwest area of campus, Sunday, after the Super Bowl. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROLINE O’CONNOR

Staff Writer
Published: 2/5/2018 9:00:19 AM

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 5:25 p.m. on Feb. 5, 2018.

AMHERST — Seven students were arrested and seven others were taken to the hospital after a large gathering in the Southwest Residential Area of the University of Massachusetts following the Super Bowl on Sunday night, a university spokeswoman said.

Approximately 2,000 people gathered in the rain after the New England Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, with some throwing bottles and setting off firecrackers. Fights broke and police issued “multiple dispersal orders before using PepperBall to clear the disturbance,” the statement from Mary Dettloff read. She reported that vandalism, mostly to bathrooms in residence halls, caused an estimated $2,685 in damages.

Medical aid was requested for people with head injuries, lacerations and alcohol intoxication, and the Amherst Fire Department said ambulances transported seven people to Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

One student was arraigned Monday morning in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown. Jordan E. Ortiz, 22, of Marshfield is charged with disorderly conduct, rioting and failure to disperse. Six others are set to be arraigned Tuesday.

Among those taken to the hospital were two men and a woman with head injuries, a woman under the influence of an unknown drug, a woman with cardiac issues, an intoxicated woman and a woman with a broken arm.

Amherst Fire Chief Tim Nelson described what he saw as a chaotic situation.

“We thought the rain and cold and icy conditions would deter people from going crazy, but it didn’t seem to matter,” Nelson said. “These folks were hellbent on creating havoc.”

Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Olmstead and two paramedics were embedded with UMass police officers, and two other firefighters were stationed in a Southwest dormitory to make sure alarms were silenced, Nelson said. Had alarms been activated, that would have caused more students to leave their rooms in the high-rise dormitories.

Nelson said some of his experienced personnel told him that the incident was unusual.

“They’ve never seen a crowd so angry and violent. They hadn’t seen that for years,” Nelson said.

Treated at the scene were a woman who suffered a possible broken nose, a man who injured his hand when he punched a television, a woman who was hit in the head with a beer bottle and a man with a laceration to his ear.

Amherst ambulances brought seven of these patients to the hospital, while an additional seven ambulances were provided by five other agencies — Northampton, Easthampton, Belchertown, South Hadley District #1 and South County in South Deerfield.

Between 10:25 and 11:48 p.m., the Amherst department received 17 requests for service while having 11 firefighters on duty, enough to staff four ambulances and a paramedic-level fire engine. A fifth ambulance is being repaired after a recent accident.

Nelson said there were three other patients in town who needed medical attention and he is frustrated that the incidents on campus, where people chose to act irresponsibly, made it more difficult to get those people the care they needed.

“It’s not acceptable,” Nelson said. “For me, that’s the crux of the night.”

He said no firefighters or officers were injured.

“I’m proud of our firefighters. They did an exceptional job under some very trying conditions,” Nelson said.

The game was over at 10:17 p.m. The residential area was cleared by 11:30 p.m., the university’s statement said. Massachusetts State Police and Amherst Police assisted UMass Police.

Off campus, the only notable incident occurred at Townehouse Apartments, 50 Meadow St., at around 10:52 p.m., when a pile of furniture was lit on fire in one of the outdoor quad areas. People who were seen pouring alcohol and gasoline on the fire fled the area and were not identified. The fire was mostly extinguished by the heavy rains, with firefighters extinguishing the remaining embers. Nelson said student EMTs responded.

Editor’s Note: This story was changed at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 5, 2018, to correct photo captions.

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