AKRON, Ohio - Organizers of a popular off-campus Akron party spoke out Sunday after police spent the previous night trying to control a huge crowd of college students who attended that party.
"We'd like to apologize to anyone who was involved, if any vehicles or anything was damaged, that was not the intention of Sherman Fest," said one organizer who wished to remain anonymous.
Sherman Fest began last year. Since then, there have been multiple Sherman Fest parties a year. Saturday's party took place on Irisdale Place near the University of Akron. Organizers suspected 2,000 people to show up. Instead, 4,000 people attended.
"Our goal for this Sherman Fest was to keep things as regulated as possible," said another organizer who wished to remain anonymous. "We like to provide a safe environment. We took all of the precautions we thought we could."
The organizers said the situation seemed to get out of control after they shut the party down around midnight. That was due to an overwhelming crowd combined with a broken house window and fights.
"It's really disheartening to see people in my age range, my peers, just become lesser than who they could have been," said the organizer.
Organizers added that they talked to police ahead of time about Sherman Fest, checked ID's for underage drinkers, put a fence around the perimeter and provided security.
Witnesses tell NewsChannel5 that several fights broke out which resulted in a riot.
"Police even sprayed pepper spray and tear gas to get the large crowd under control," according to a NewsChannel5 viewer.
Several tweets were also posted on Twitter regarding the incident.
Well I have officially been tear gassed three times for doing nothing... I wasn't even at the party was three streets over. #ShermanFest— Jordyn Mottice (@jordyn0594) August 31, 2014
The amount of fights tonight were unreal... #ShermanFest— Jess Runyon (@Jruns11) August 31, 2014
Cops raided #ShermanFest, gas and mace everywhere!!!— Ryan Cummins (@RyanCums) August 31, 2014
NewsChannel5 reached out to Akron police and the University of Akron regarding the incident.
Akron police have not yet released details.
UAkron officials responded by saying that any incidents that occurred were off campus and in the jurisdiction of the Akron Police Department.
Meanwhile the coordinators of Sherman Fest are working with police via social media get help get the word out that rioting is not okay.
Hate to say it but tonight was the last Sherman fest ever. We apologize to everyone who came out. Critics were right. You should be happy— Shermanfest (@Shermanfest) August 31, 2014
Akron has proved it cant handle anything with a good intention. Again we all apologize to UAPD, Off campus housing, the neighbors, & friends— Shermanfest (@Shermanfest) August 31, 2014
The cops are NOT to be blamed AT ALL. They were just doing their job. The Djs saw the direction the party was going and decided to end it.— Shermanfest (@Shermanfest) August 31, 2014
Anyone with any information about ANY incidents Needs to contact the Akron police department— Shermanfest (@Shermanfest) August 31, 2014
The car that was flipped was NOWHERE near irisdale. That was the result of people spread out after the party.— Shermanfest (@Shermanfest) August 31, 2014