Lt. Howard Coombs
Public Information Officer

3/27/09 Officer Breaks Up Fight At boca Ciega High School

Gulfport, FL--The school resource officer at Boca Ciega High School called for assistance today while trying to stop 5 to 6 students from fighting. During the scuffle, the officer used pepper spray to disperse the people involved in the fight and the crowd of spectators.

At approximately, 10:30 a.m. Officer Steve Beltran called out over the radio that he was trying to break up a fight on the main campus of the school. While doing so, a student pushed her way past him to either become involved or to spectate. Officer Beltran realized the precarious position he was in with indviduals surrounding him so he called for assistance. Gulfport police officers arrived on scene and assisted the staff of the school in contacting parents and getting students back into class.

Officer Beltran used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. This application of the tool was used as it was intended--to disperse large crowds with minimal injury. After the scene was settled, 5 students were treated for the effects of pepper spray exposure. Medical attention was given to individuals that showed effects of the spray.  No one was injured. One student was arrested for a misdemeanor charge of obstruction.