A big annual Independence Day fireworks show in one of the area's largest suburbs is in jeopardy for next year due to an incident involving police and a rowdy crowd at Cheektowaga Town Park Friday night.
CHEEKTOWAGA, NY - According to Cheektowaga Police, small fights started breaking out between teenagers Friday night at the beginning of the fireworks show at Cheektowaga Town Park. Crowds followed the fights.
Assistant Chief of Police James Speyer told us, "At one point a 13-year-old was found in possession of a pellet gun. That ended up being a very real looking gun and we took that from him and arrested him. At that point we decided we'd push those kids out of the park." He also said a 16-year-old boy was arrested for threatening a police officer with a knife.
The teens who were causing the trouble were assembled near the midway, and Speyer said it did not appear they were there to watch the fireworks, so police began pushing them out of the park. The teens began flooding the side streets on their way out.
Speyer said, "This year we had reports that there was some vandalism to a few of the vehicles parked in the street along the way. We had eight different reports of cars being damaged that night by these kids who were leaving."
New York State Police were called out for assistance. No serious injuries occurred.
"It's a shame families have to put up with this. You try to run a family event that everybody can enjoy on a beautiful night, and it's shame that there's a few that ruin it for everyone."
Officials are evaluating what to do next year, for what's supposed to be a family fun event.
Speyer said, "We will have an after-action report and we'll give that to the town officials and they will have to assess whether they want to continue. This could jeopardize things and we will take a good serious look at it and make that determination during the next year. We are concerned about the future and we'll have to look at that."