Scaremare Experiences Gang-Related Incident
Lynchburg, VA - With Scaremare wrapping up Saturday night, organizers say they're on the verge of breaking an all-time attendance record. But all the good fortune has been marred by reports of gang activity.
We've learned several suspected gang members were kicked out of the waiting line two weeks ago. The group then tried to start a fight.
Scaremare volunteers call this an isolated incident, that started back where the crowds gather.
No one was injured and it ended peacefully, but there are other warning signs that gangs may continue to be a problem here in the future.
It started when a security guard noticed people in the waiting line, flashing red bandanas.
"Asked them to put their colors away and they refused, and the officers asked them to leave the property immediately," said Scaremare Director Steve Vandegriff.
The group of about a dozen people then went across the street and reportedly attempted to incite a riot.
Scaremare volunteer Dan Butler saw the whole thing.
"It was right along that area, there was a big gathering of people," said Butler.
He says it didn't take long to get backup.
"All of a sudden, just a whole bunch of LPD officers and their cars showed up and there was a verbal altercation," said Butler.
Police aren't sure if several spray-painted messages have anything to do with that altercation.
They haven't been linked to any local gangs. But just this month, they've popped up all over the area, even on the Scaremare building.
"We've seen a little bit more activity as far as the spray paint tagging thing," said Vandegriff.
Scaremare staff say the original group of troublemakers have not been back. They said they will continue to keep an eye out for others.
"Our officers are on top of it and extremely preventative, but if they have to be proactive, they are proactive. It's a place to hang out and we want teenagers to know it's a safe place to hang out and we will do everything we can to keep it that way," said Vandegriff.
In the 39 year history of Scaremare, staff members say this is the only gang-related disturbance they have had.
As far as breaking an attendance record, they have to average 2800 people over the next two nights to break the record.