SANTA BARBARA (KCBS) — More than 100 people were arrested and at least 44 were taken to hospitals following a riot at an annual spring break event near the University of Santa Barbara over the weekend.
Police estimate about 15,000 people packed Isla Vista Saturday for the annual Deltopia party. The massive street party turned turned into a huge melee involving police using tear gas and foam bullets.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover said things got out of hand when a UCSB police officer was hit in the head with a backpack containing large bottles of alcohol.
“The university is concerned, as are we about the number of out-of-towners that come for this event and come for Halloween to cause problems,” Hoover said.
At least six officers and sheriff’s deputies were injured.
Students from the Bay Area like Katie Lee, a UCSB junior from Mill Valley, are among those stunned by what happened.
“It’s almost embarrassing to live in Isla Vista because our reputation of UCSB is kind of getting trashed,” Lee said upon returning to see all the damage.
“I look at my Facebook page and literally all my friends have posted, ‘I can’t believe this is happening,’” she said.
Last year, an 18-year-old Cal Poly student from the Bay Area was found dead hours after the Deltopia party after apparently falling off a cliff.
The Deltopia event was formed after Isla Vista authorities closed down the annual Floatopia spring break beach party after a massive 2009 event brought high levels of water pollution, injuries, and citations.