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Mob Attacks Police, Firefighters With Fireworks in Illinois

12:30 PM, Jul 7, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Here's some anti-government violence from an out-of-control mob you won't hear much about, from Illinois:

First responders from the Alton Fire Department and five officers from the Alton Police Department were attacked by a crowd of several hundred people in the Oakwood Housing Complex who shot large bottle rockets at them. The incidents occurred late Sunday and early Monday in the 700 and 800 blocks of Oakwood.

"I'm so angry," said Alton Police Chief David Hayes. "This type of conduct is not supposed to happen in civil society. This was obviously intended to be entertainment for the crowd."

Hayes added that the crowd's actions were "despicable and turn my stomach."

The confrontations began at 10:20 p.m. and within the 40 minutes it took to resolve the first incident, police were attacked three times. It started when a firetruck was dispatched to extinguish a Dumpster fire in the 700 block of Oakwood and was immediately attacked by the crowd shooting and throwing fireworks at them.

According to two police reports, Patrolman First Class Walter Wetzstein and several other officers already were on their way to the scene because of the "large amounts of fireworks being set off at that location." Both reports stated that in the past, fires have been set to "lure the fire department out so they could be attacked by fireworks."

They were attacked three times over several hours, lured on separate false reports of shootings and fires. This kind of thing poses a risk not only to police, but to the members of this community who have real problems, to which cops will be less able to quickly respond in the future. It's a greater threat to the public and the Republic than, say, a handful of rude signs at a political rally, but there will be no national coverage. Perhaps if this group organized as an anti-tax coalition, they'd get more coverage of their shenanigans.

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