Melee erupts at The Citadel

CHARLESTON - A group of Citadel cadets threw bottles, trash cans and chairs and fought one another Sunday night during an on-campus melee that started shortly after campus police arrested a cadet for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Scared and outnumbered adult supervisors inside the Watts Barracks made a "distressed call" to Citadel public safety officers shortly before 11 p.m. because cadets refused to return to their rooms, according to a public safety incident report. One supervisor was struck by a water balloon.

Authorities said the situation came under control soon after Charleston police officers responded to the scene. Police did not arrest anyone in connection with the disturbance.

Citadel officials are investigating the incident. Cadets who participated in "unacceptable behavior" will be held accountable, said L. Jeffrey Perez, vice president for external affairs.

Police said the incident began about 10:50 p.m. when a public safety officer saw a cadet nearly fall while standing in the bed of a moving pickup truck.

The 20-year-old, who appeared to be intoxicated, cursed at the officer and told him he was helping another cadet who was passed out in the bed of the truck, an incident report said.

The cadet refused to get out of the pickup, and then jumped out when the officer attempted to grab him. The officer punched the cadet in the face in self-defense when he saw the cadet rear back with a fist, the report said.

The blow allowed the officer to back away from the cadet, who finally complied with the officer's orders at the urging of another cadet.

The cadet continued to curse and resist officers after he was cuffed and taken to the station, requiring two officers to watch him, the report said.

Public safety officers charged Bryan E. Crosson, 21, with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He was released from the Charleston County jail Monday morning on his own recognizance.

Police said cadets in the Watts Barracks, one of five on campus, started screaming and throwing objects within minutes of the arrest.

One of the supervisors said he called public safety officers because he was concerned for the safety of the cadets, himself and other adult supervisors.

Officers directed one of the supervisors to take cover from flying objects, a report said.

Perez said the situation was under control by 11:20 p.m.

"We do not know at this time exactly how many cadets were involved in the incident, but these actions were not taken by all, and not even most cadets in Watts Barracks," he said.

The incident was the second time that evening that Charleston police were called to help with unruly cadets.

Police officers cited nine cadets with disorderly conduct about 7:45 p.m. Sunday in front of The Anchorage Inn at 26 Vendue Range.

Witnesses told officers a large group of cadets were running up and down the block screaming, punching parked cars and screaming profanity, according to a Charleston police incident report. One of the men was taken to jail. The others were issued citations.