CLEVELAND — A brawl that started over spilled punch at a kindergarten graduation ceremony today resulted in the arrest of eight people, authorities said. Police were called when one participant pulled out a pipe and another a hammer.
Two teenage girls apparently started hitting each other at Michael R. White Elementary School, and their families joined in, Cleveland police Cmdr. Wayne Drummond said. The fight involved adults and minors, he said.
“You had adults fighting adults, juvies fighting juvies, and so forth,” he said as parents streamed into the building to pick up their children. “You just had a melee here.”
No charges were immediately filed, but those arrested were being booked for aggravated rioting, Drummond said. By city practice, charges are filed after prosecutors review a case.
City Councilman Jeff Johnson lives across the street from the school, which is in a blue-collar neighborhood overlooking the leafy University Circle arts and museum district. He said the spilled punch set off the fight, with one person pulling out a pipe and another a hammer, leading school security officers to call police.
At least 10 patrols cars went to the scene.
“It was a very chaotic scene,” according to Drummond, who said the fight erupted as the ceremony was ending about 11 a.m. and then moved outside.
Officers quickly restored order, Drummond said. More than the eight arrested were involved in the fight, and the initial heavy police response came amid a call, which turned out to be false, about shots fired, he said.