ALBANY, Ga. -- A downtown melee among unsupervised teenagers ruined the traditional fireworks show for spectators Wednesday night, sending families running and resulting in three arrests during the city's abbreviated Fourth of July celebration.
The disruption could have been worse. Albany Police Department officers may have avoided that when they arrested 17-year-old Desmond Sadique Warren. He was charged with carrying a pistol while under the age of 18, officials said.
Also, police and spectators were sprayed with pepper spray by unruly teenagers at Turtle Park.
Two teens were arrested for fighting and each was charged with disorderly conduct. Cantonese Javar Kennedy, 17, and Antwon Johnson, 19, were each released on less than $130 bail, a Dougherty County Jail spokeswoman said. Warren remains in jail in lieu of $1,000 bail, she added.
Nearly 90 officers worked to protect the mothers, fathers and children, many young and in strollers, during the celebration. APD Capt. Reginald Brown said he determined the best way to ensure safety for the thousands who gathered at the park to watch the fireworks when the fights broke out was to clear the area. He ordered his team to send people home.
"I made the determination that the crowd had gotten too large and that officer safety was at risk, as well as the citizens attending the fireworks," he said. "I ordered the fireworks cut off to get the crowd under control."
Shutting down the fireworks also allowed officers to hear if there were any gunshots in addition to the fights, Brown said. There were none, he added.
The fights remain under investigation.
Teenagers and children at events should be supervised by parents or other responsible adults, police officials have repeatedly stated. No one should drop teenagers or children off at a location and leave them unsupervised.