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Bats, bricks used in after-school melees involving nearly 100 Reading students, police say

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 28 2013 03:59:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 29 2013 03:22:16 PM CDT

Reading High School fights caught on camera

READING, Pa. -

Police are searching for the students who showed up to several different melees in  Reading, armed with weapons on Wednesday.

Bricks, bats, 2-by-4's, bottles and bricks were wielded by several students captured on cell phone video that was posted on Facebook, investigators said.

One of the fights erupted at City Park, just feet away from the home of Kristi Wells, who said she suffered a panic attack during the fight.

"I think it was ridiculous," said Wells, who added that her friends had to calm her down. "They calmed me down. They went outside to make sure everything was okay and stuff for me."

After the City Park fight, police said another fight erupted at North 13th and Douglass streets, then in the 400 block of Mulberry Street, and again in middle of the intersection of 11th and Franklin.

"It's going too far. They should at least put a stop to this," said Marta Lazos, neighbor.

"It's ridiculous," said Ramon Vargas, neighbor. "Because now they're putting that on Facebook, on YouTube."

And that's exactly where police are searching, combing through every frame of video for the kids who showed up with bats, 2-by-4's, hammers, and parts of furniture.

Sgt. John Solecki said, during his 20 years with the Reading Police Department, he's never seen anything like it.

"Not like this where they were showing up and had weapons, baseball bats, bottles, bricks. This was unusual," Solecki said.

A 17-year-old was hospitalized but has since been released, investigators said.

Since shouts of "north side" and "south side" can be heard on the video, police are looking into whether these fights could be at the center of a turf war between gangs.