Fight breaks out during Daytona Beach Bandshell event
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Thousands of people gathered over the weekend in Daytona Beach to celebrate homecoming for Bethune Cookman University and video captured a fight that spilled onto State Road A1A during an event that wasn't sponsored by the school.
The celebration included a jam-packed concert at the Daytona Beach Bandshell before police said the promoter cut it short. Event organizers promoted it the same weekend as BCU’s homecoming to capitalize on the number of visitors to Daytona Beach.
"I think he tried to get a little greedy and get as much money as he could, of course. His act canceled or something and the crowd was a little upset. We told them, 'Hey, time to go' and they left," Daytona Beach police Chief Craig Capri said.
Police said crowds leaving the bandshell at the same time caused some issues, including a fight that involved four women. Officers said one woman danced on a patrol car and admitted to being drunk and instigating fights.
Videos of the fight were viewed thousands of times on social media.
"This was about 5,000 people. In the scheme of things, it's really not a big deal," Capri said.
Some vacationers, like Shaidai Wells, didn't mind the large crowds.
"A lot of fancy cars with rims, loud music. It was a lot for me coming from little old Indianapolis. It was nice," Wells said.
Penny Perkins, of Kentucky, however, said it put a damper on her family's vacation.
"It was just a lot of people, a lot of police presence, a lot of things that we could smell. The smoking of the weed and things like that, that was just uncomfortable for us. (It) just made it an uncomfortable family experience," she said.
Some Daytona Beach residents didn't mind the event but said it's a shame when crowds spill out of control.
"It's a tragedy, you know. People complain about not having events in Daytona Beach but when we do get them, we don't know how to handle it and we pretty much mess it up," Frank Martin said.
However, Capri said he's looking at the bigger picture.
"To me, that's a success when nobody's injured, no property damage and you had very few minor arrests for fights that you can't control anyway," he said. "It was just a couple of girls fighting and it looked worse than what it did on the video. If that's the worst thing that we had to deal with yesterday for the whole weekend then we won."
[Editor's note: This report has been updated to reflect that the bandshell event was not affiliated with Bethune Cookman University.]
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