Teens arrested at large University of Guelph gathering after 1 briefly escapes police custody
Windshield smashed and a side mirror torn off of campus safety office cruiser, police say
Two teens were arrested and now face charges after a fight broke out during a large, unsanctioned gathering at the University of Guelph on the weekend and one teen is alleged to have helped another teen escape police custody.
Members of the Guelph Police Service were on campus early Saturday to help campus police monitor the gathering, which involved hundreds of people gathering on Johnston Green, an outdoor greenspace on campus.
A fight broke out at 1 a.m. between two males in the crowd, police said. The two males were separated, but one was described by police as being "very aggressive" and continued to want to fight.
"After several warnings the male was arrested for causing a disturbance. As officers were attempting to walk him to a campus safety office cruiser, several people in the crowd attempted to intervene and pull the male away from officers. When officers reached the cruiser they discovered the windshield smashed and a side mirror torn off," police said in a release Wednesday.
Officers placed the male in the backseat of the cruiser, but say they were then blocked from leaving the scene by people who stood in front of the cruiser.
"At this time, the rear driver's side door was opened by a second male, allowing his friend to escape," police said.
Both teens were arrested after a short foot pursuit, police said.
Neither of the teens are students at the University of Guelph "or any other school," police said.
An 18-year-old Shelburne man faces charges of causing a disturbance by fighting, resisting a peace officer and escaping lawful custody.
A 17-year-old male from Durham region faces charges of assisting in an escape and possessing a fraudulent driver's licence.
Avoid large gatherings: U of G
The university said in a statement on its website that the large gathering caused some damage to university property and tickets were issued.
"Such gatherings compromise health and safety. COVID-19 health and safety requirements must be followed always," the statement said.
"As students continue to build connections with new friends, they are reminded to support and look out for one another. Avoid gathering in large groups and with unknown persons. Ensure interactions are respectful and demonstrate care. Please report all unwanted and inappropriate actions to the campus safety office or residence life staff."
Rise in parties on or near campuses
The gathering comes after police announced they were investigating reports of female students' drinks being spiked with an unknown substance.
Two of the complaints are related to a house party in the south end of the city. Two other complaints are related to a small on-campus gathering in August. Police said no assaults or physical injuries were reported.
As well, police in Guelph were called to an on-campus gathering earlier this month that resulted in minor damage to the exterior of one of the residence buildings.
Guelph is also not the only university to see an increase in unsanctioned, large-scale events involving students.
In Waterloo, students at Wilfrid Laurier University were warned criminal charges and expulsion were possible for anyone who took part in illegal weekend gatherings earlier this month.
In London, the Middlesex-London Health Unit has issued a new pair of orders that aim to double down on capacity limits for nightclubs and social gatherings after the city has seen an increase in student partying this month.