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Crowded off-campus party degenerates into 'war zone'

The bottle caps, broken glass and empty plastic cups littering a neighborhood near James Madison University's Harrisonburg, Va. campus suggested that the events of Saturday afternoon were nothing more than a kegger gone bad.

But those who witnessed the party-turned-riot recalled chaos so out of character for this Shenandoah Valley town that by Monday afternoon, it still had the power to amaze.

From Jenna Johnson's story:

"When you are setting off tear gas and people still aren't leaving, you know it's bad," recalled Lt. Kurt Boshart of the Harrisonburg Police Department. "It was really bad."
Each semester, James Madison students organize a huge block party, in one of the popular neighborhoods near campus, that typically attracts about 2,000 people. But when more than 8,000 people showed up to "Springfest" at a row of townhouses at the Forest Hill Manor development, the event quickly escalated, Boshart and witnesses said.

Read the full story on The Post's web site.

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 13, 2010; 8:23 AM ET
Categories:  From the Post , Schools , Virginia  
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