I thought to myself this night that I was happy to be going to bed at a decent time to get much needed rest. Only to find that when I went to grab my phone to place it on the charger, I just missed a call from the office. Getting a call from the office this late a night is never a good sign. Thinking it would be some home on fire or shooting, I was a little shocked to hear a riot had broken out in the west side of Chico. I had just unpacked all of my equipment to organize my gear when I had to pack it all back up to race to the scene.
A few individuals throw a couch into a bonfire near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
Onlookers take video and pictures with cameras and cellphones as they watch a bonfire near Sixth and Chestnut streets early this morning. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
I arrived on scene to hear a large crowd gathering with a good bonfire roaring in the middle of the street. Chico Police had already blocked access to the streets for the public. I showed my press pass and walked into the scene. It was a very calm event considering most of the students weren't violent, just intoxicated. Most were there to have fun and just witness it. Not to cause a disturbance, though it was very much one.
People climbed on cars and stairs. I myself climbed up the top of a balcony and was caught in the middle of a cat fight, to which I kindly pushed my way back down the stairs thinking I would be safer below. I took pictures of the flames and the kids jumping and throwing items into the fire. Once the couch was lit, the intensity of the flames pushed a lot of the crowd back.
I walked over to the cops who were putting on their riot gear. The rush of adrenaline became the usual "hurry up and wait" as I grew tiresome of the same fire still burning. I talked with some of the officers, but made sure to make my presence known. That way if a confrontation occurred they would hopefully remember that I am with the press.
WATCH video from scene
The cops cleared the streets. I was looking for that perfect shot of an arrest, but was unable to come across one. The lighting was dark and I was battling a dead battery. But if they keep the riots up at this rate I am sure we will hit our third riot just in time for St. Patty's Day! Here's to you Chico. You're such a riot!