1,000 Students Riot At High School
PHOENIX, Ariz. - Racial tensions between African Americans and Hispanics at South Mountain High School erupted into a lunchtime rumble involving up to 1,000 stick- and bottle-throwing students, injuring dozens and leading to 18 arrests.
Apprehensive school administrators said classes would be held at the normal hours today. Security, however, would include metal detectors and 50 extra police officers.
Daniel San Miguel, a 17-year-old senior, said everyone in the school's central quadrangle "went crazy" after African Americans and Hispanics exchanged racial epithets.
"Guys were hitting girls," he said. "One guy took a branch off a tree, and he kept hitting this girl on the ground. One guy came at everybody with a lead pipe. People were hitting anybody they could get their hands on."
No guns or knives were used.
The student body of the school, Arizona's largest, is 56 percent Hispanic, 26 percent African American and 16 percent Anglo.
Authorities and students say the trouble began with a shooting Friday night in which a member of the predominantly Hispanic Bloods gang was wounded, reportedly by a member of the predominantly African-American Crips. The victim, a South Mountain senior, is now paralyzed.
"It'll continue tomorrow," Fernando, a Hispanic gang member who declined to give his name, said after the riot. "Just wait until tonight. Just wait until this weekend. Today was just the beginning."
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