Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The wild fight caught on tape. Students and spectators were throwing punches– some were even throwing chairs– at a basketball game between Baltimore’s ConneXions Academy and Cardozo Senior High in Washington D.C.
Mike Hellgren has the players involved speaking about the brawl for the first time.
Some basketball players say police used pepper spray to bring the crowd under control. It is unclear if anyone has been suspended.
The fight started in the stands and quickly moved to the court, interrupting the basketball game between ConneXions Community Leadership Academy in Northwest Baltimore and Cardozo Senior High School from Washington D.C.
“Everybody from the Baltimore stands just ran up, started fighting,” said Jonathan Bonhomme, a player from Cordozo High.
“Somebody from Baltimore, he ran up punching me right here and my older brother ran over there and that’s when the whole fight just started,” said William Taylor, another player from Cordozo.
Police tried to stop it, but some players and fans were out of control.
“More than chaos, it was a riot,” said Renne Brown, who lives near ConnecXions Academy.
Brown watched as officers flooded the scene.
“It was a real zoo, I mean, they looked like they were coming from all angles,” she said. “They really did the job.”
Chairs were even thrown as the fighting continued from one side of the court to the other.
In response, a Baltimore City Schools spokeswoman said they “expect spectators and student athletes to exhibit excellent sportsmanship at all times.”
Baltimore City Schools say it is all under investigation right now.
Washington D.C. schools were a bit harsher in their assessment.
“We are disappointed any time our student athletes are not upholding their responsibility as leaders on and off the court,” the statement said.
“You couldn’t tell who were the fighters and who was the grown ups, you really couldn’t tell,” Brown said. “It was just terrible.”
Thousands of people watched the fighting online, many say it stems from a D.C.-Baltimore rivalry. One student says someone in the stands struck a Cardozo coach.
“We don’t send my little brother to school to be in altercations,” said Shellina Taylor, one player’s sister. “They went there, it was a basketball tournament and sometime, somehow, it escalated.”
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Brown said. “I had my mouth open. They cry about sports, and then when they get up there, they don’t know how to act.”
Police had to escort Cardozo players from Northwest Baltimore.
ConneXions is a public charter school serving more than 330 students.