Dozens of people were injured in Isla Vista on Saturday, when an annual college party turned violent. About 100 people were arrested during the Deltopia spring break party near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Police said a major disturbance broke out around 9:00 pm, after an officer was hit in the head with a backpack containing several bottles of alcohol, near the 6700 block of Del Playa drive. 44 people were injured when a crowd, extending several blocks, began hurling bricks, rocks, and bottles at officers, while they were attempting to make an arrest.
There were around 15,000 people in attendance at Deltopia. The sheriff’s office said the angry mob also began lighting fires, tearing down stop signs, and damaging police vehicles and property. It took until Sunday morning to re-establish order in Isla Vista.
According to a press release, the incident was declared an emergency situation. Law enforcement from Ventura County were called in to assist the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities were forced to use pepper spray, tear gas, flash-bang grenades, and foam projectiles in order to dissipate the uncontrollable mass. At least five deputies were wounded during the altercation, one reportedly taking a brick to the face. All were released by morning. Authorities also responded to a stabbing earlier in the day, and found many party goers carrying weapons. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, Kelly Hoover, said virtually every person that was hospitalized during the violent Isla Vista annual college party had ingested an excess of alcohol.
Deltopia, which centers around Del Playa drive, is an offshoot of the annual beach celebration Floatopia, which was held at the beach in Isla Vista, in 2009. But Santa Barbara County officials were not too pleased with Floatopia, either. The party was meant for people to bring their floats and drinks down to the beach, and have a good time, but party goers dumped trash and other environmental hazards into the ocean and surrounding areas, making yearly beach closures a necessity. Hoover said it has been many years since they have seen a civil disturbance like the one on Saturday, in Isla Vista.
The angry bottle-wielding mob was not the only problem on Saturday. There were many other Deltopia related issues. All in all, law enforcement fielded 440 calls related to the spring break bash, including the discovery of a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student’s body, found on the beach at Campus Point, early Sunday morning. That death is still currently being investigated.
As for non-party going residents, they dealt with everything from parking problems to people going to the bathroom in public, trash, and an over-excess of noise. Unfortunately, authorities will have a harder time stifling Deltopia than they did when putting a stop to Floatopia. The county cannot block off access to Del Playa drive like they were able to with the beach. Thankfully for Isla Vista, the college block party that took a violent turn is over, and Santa Barbara County officials have 12 months to figure out how they will ward off this same type of incident from happening next year.
by Melissa White-Jantzen
East Idaho News
Fox 5 San Diego
Santa Barbara Independent