Lubbock, TX – Two Lubbock police officers were assaulted during a massive neighborhood water fight that left property damaged and unwilling passersby drenched, police said (video below).
The event, which was referred to as the “East Side Water Wars: The Purge,” was scheduled to last from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m., KCBD reported.
During the melee, Lubbock police officers responded to at least 58 calls for service, Chief Greg Stevens said in a press release on Monday.
Some callers reported that participants in the water fight were blocking the roadways, while others complained that they had unwillingly been hit by water balloons and “super soaker type water guns,” Chief Stevens explained.
“Specifically, we received at least one report of a windshield cracked and several people being unwittingly drenched as they drove or walked down the street,” he added.
The department was inundated with calls, leaving some reports languishing in queue.
“Officers responding to the numerous calls for service early in the day were met with courtesy and cooperation from participants they encountered as they requested them to only engage with other participants and stay out of the roadways,” Chief Stevens said.
That all changed at approximately 7 p.m., when two officers who were preparing to go on shift responded to reports that people were blocking traffic and throwing water balloons at vehicles, KCBD reported.
“They responded to the call on their way to work because the call had been holding for some time because other officers were not available to respond,” Chief Stevens explained.
According to a police report, a female officer told the crowd to have fun, but asked them to stay out of the road, KCBD reported.
Someone sprayed her in the back with a water gun as she was walking back to her patrol vehicle, then several other individuals followed suit.
The officer was pelted with water balloons and was then shoved by a male as he ran by.
A now-viral cell phone video captured the moment that the officer spun around and began chasing one of the water wars participants.
As she ran, the officer tripped in the mud and slid on her stomach, the video showed.
The video had over 5 million views as of Monday evening and had been shared over 134,000 times.
People from the crowd proceeded to spray her and threw water at her, and one individual even dumped a full bucket of water on her, KCBD reported.
The volume of water rendered her equipment inoperable, and the officer was unable to call for backup.
Mud and water saturated her clothing and vest, while her duty weapon, Taser, and magazines were covered in the muddy slime.
Participants also attacked a male officer on the opposite side of the neighborhood, dousing him with buckets and a water-filled trashcan.
“The other officer was able to make it back to his vehicle and finish dispersing the crowd by activating his lights and siren on his police vehicle while traveling to the aid of his fellow officer,” Chief Stevens said in the press release. “He was able to call for additional units which responded to the scene, and eventually the entire crowd on East Baylor was dispersed with no use of force by any of the involved officers.”
The female officer was forced to go out of service for a period of time in order to change her uniform and dry out her equipment, which left the department temporarily understaffed, the chief explained.
Chief Stevens noted that while most of the water wars participants were respectful and cooperative, detectives were looking into the actions of the “small number” of individuals responsible for criminal mischief and “other related issues” to determine if charges would be filed.
“I applaud the professionalism and restraint shown by each of the responding officers, especially the two who were assaulted during this event,” Chief Stevens concluded. “They were faced with an extremely difficult situation; however, they remained calm and performed their job diligently, solving the problem at hand without resorting to any use of force.”
You can watch the viral cell phone footage from the scene in the video below: