Students riot in the streets after Penn State Board of Trustees fire coach Joe Paterno

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Within minutes of the announcement by Penn State's Board of Trustees to fire Joe Paterno, the news had reached virtually everyone in State College through Twitter and Facebook, and soon into the streets the students poured.

When I heard the audible gasp from the media in the room when the decision was read by the board in a ballroom inside the Penn Stater Conference Center, I wasn't surprised when only a few minutes later word got back to the room that students were filling the streets.

When we arrived minutes after our 11 p.m. live shot, Beaver Avenue was packed solid with students who within seconds of our arrival started running to get away from local and state police in riot gear with tear gas.

With order restored the crowd started chanting "we are Penn State" and "Joe Pa-terno" but when the chant turned to "Old Main" the massive crowd was on the move to College Avenue ahead of police.

There they shattered car windows, knocked over street signs and tipped over a live truck belonging to WTAJ of Altoona. Gasoline from the truck soon pouring into the street. At one point a flare was thrown dangerously close to the pool.

In a moment though the thick smell of the fuel was replaced by the burning sensation of pepper spray as videographer Gary Abrahamson and myself were hit several times by the police spray looking to disperse the crowd.

"They should have expected this," said one student. Another agreed "it was expected and I thought that this would have influenced the Board of Trustees decision," said Dave Walkovic.

Pepper spray was one thing, but when items being thrown into the crowd went from toilet paper to bricks, we made the decision to go.

"We wish they weren't responding to this with violence and destructing public property," said student Audrey Montemayor, "but we definitely wish they didn't fire Joe Paterno," she added.

Student Kevin Gallagher said the reaction was over the top.

"Personally, I don't think that this is what Joe Paterno would have wanted."

In a statement Paterno said "I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees' decision but I have to accept it."

He added "I appreciate the outpouring of support, but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm and please respect the university, its property and all that we value."

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