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Police say party near Keene State got out of control, became 'mass casualty incident'

Union Leader Correspondent

October 18. 2014 8:10PM

A huge crowd was gathered near Keene State College on Saturday for the annual Pumpkin Festival, where authorities said some 30 people were hurt in violent incidents. 

KEENE - More than 30 people were injured during an out-of-control party Saturday afternoon on Winchester Court, just off the Keene State College campus.

Then chaos reigned again Saturday night, with reports of cars being overturned and police in riot gear moving in and making arrests.

While the afternoon portion of the Keene Pumpkin Festival was going on downtown on Main Street, Winchester Court became the gathering place for hundreds of KSC students and their friends.

Keene Fire Chief Mark Howard said police and firefighters were called to Winchester Court just after 3 p.m. for what was reported as a mass casualty incident.

Injuries people suffered included cuts from glass being broken, people being hit by bottles or cans and people being hit or run over by other people.

"Basically, we had an out-of-control event on Winchester Court that warranted a Level 2 (Mass Casualty Incident), which is about 10 and 25 patients," Howard said. "We have treated over 30 and transported over 20. We have a treatment area set up at the college and many area hospitals have been utilized for transport. There's approximately 15 ambulances in the area staging and being used in addition to fire mutual aid in the city assisting along with what was already here for today's event."

Just after 5 p.m., Howard said his crew was in a holding pattern.

Howard said it was a party that got out of control.

The event took place in the street and in yards next to the campus, he said.

People who were at the event said there were several parties on Winchester Court and people were going from party to party.

Freshman Frederick Kfoury took this photo of police at Keene State College during the Pumpkinfest riots.

The rowdiness began anew Saturday night, with a large crowd gathered.

The chaos then turned more violent, with reports of cars being overturned and fires being lit.

The Twitter feed of Keene Sentinel reporter Ella Nilsen said police in riot gear moved in, making arrests. At 1:35 am., she reported, "Things seemed to have calmed on KSC campus for the time being."

A 20-year-old Assumption College student said she arrived at the street at 1:30 p.m.

"It was a drunk mob," she said. "No one was really angry with each other. It was just a lot of drunk people."

She described seeing a man get his face smashed and cut up by a glass bottle, and she said another man who got hit in the face with a glass bottle fell to the ground and appeared to be having a seizure.

Another man ran through the crowd naked, she and a friend said.

Police used tear gas twice on the crowd to break up the fighting, she said.

"That was not just one specific party. The whole campus is still partying," she said.

A 22-year-old UNH student, Becca Walker, said things got out of control when there were too many people at one house.

"There was just a lot of people on one deck," she said.

"It was horrifying actually. There were a lot of people harmed today and thank God that the police and the public service did what they did because it could have gotten way more out of control," said Chris Chobani, 22, of Providence, R.I.

All of the young people said they were drawn to the city by the well-known party scene that takes place in Keene State College neighborhoods during the pumpkin festival.

Public Safety Keene

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