Nine juveniles were arrested Friday evening after a fight between students at a district eighth-grade end-of-season basketball tournament turned into a riot, according to school district and law enforcement officials.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched at about 5:40 p.m. to a report of a disturbance at Gaiser Middle School, 3000 N.E. 99th St. in Hazel Dell, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

The statement said a 911 caller reported that a fight had broken out among students who had been attending the tournament and that there was a group of teenagers trying to interfere with and were assaulting school officials who were trying to deal with the situation.

“Three deputies arrived on scene and were immediately met with verbal hostilities from the large group of teenagers, to include racial slurs, cursing, and threats of assault,” the statement said. “As the deputies attempted to address the individual school staff was trying to detain, the group of teenagers (approximately 60-70 or more) began to close in around the deputies. They continued to curse at the deputies and threaten violence against them including death threats.”

Deputies radioed in that they needed immediate cover due to riot conditions, and officers from the sheriff’s office, Washington State Patrol and Vancouver Police Department rushed to the scene.

“At one point, there were 33 police units on scene attempting to deal with the situation,” the sheriff’s office statement said.

The statement said the group maintained their agitated and confrontational state with police and school officials, and the school security manager asked law enforcement to remove them from the property.

“Law enforcement made it clear to the group that they were no longer welcome on the school property and were being ordered to leave immediately,” the sheriff’s office statement said. “They were advised that failing to leave could result in their arrest for trespassing.”

The statement said several people refused to leave and were arrested, and one deputy received minor injuries while struggling with one of the suspects during an arrest.

Nine juveniles were arrested on various charges, including trespassing, failure to disperse, assault IV, assault III, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

Vancouver Public Schools spokeswoman Pat Nuzzo said the tournament was canceled.

The incident remains under investigation by district and law enforcement officials.


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