Arrests, damage following huge off-campus party called ‘Shermanfest’

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Shermanfest (Courtesy: Xavier Young, Xayent promotions)

Shermanfest (Courtesy: Xavier Young, Xayent promotions)

AKRON, Ohio-- About a dozen people have been arrested following a party that police say attracted as many as 4,000 people over the weekend.

The party, known as 'Shermanfest,' was held late Saturday on Irisdale Place, off campus near the University of Akron.

Students said it started off as a good time with a manageable crowd but soon people started coming in from all across Akron and elsewhere.

"Shermanfest was a party to kind of unite the City of Akron and to just bring everybody back; everybody's back to college and stuff," said Xavier Young, a promoter who helped bring DJs in as entertainment for the event.

Young said the organizers of the 4th annual 'Shermanfest' had been communicating with police and had people there to try and keep the event civil.

Young told FOX 8 News that alcohol was being served at the event but that organizers were checking IDs to make sure everything was legal.

People who were at the party said at about midnight some shoving started in the crowd and that was enough to trigger some smaller fights.

"There were thousands of people; you couldn't even count them. You walk in pretty much everybody is shoulder to shoulder, and everyone is starting to get pushed; everyone is starting to get mad," said Shane Unen, who said he got there late.

Steve Herrington said he was right in the middle of the crowd.

"Saturday night started off pretty usual like any other Shermanfest, then like about midnight a lot of fights started to break out through the crowd," said Herrington.

"Akron police, they didn't want anything small to turn out to be anything big so we saw which way the party was going and decided to shut the party down," said Young.

Nicholas Jacobsen was in his apartment trying to stay out of the madness when his window was smashed.

"Hundreds of people just started showing up and just going crazy. I heard there was a car that got flipped that night, a bottle went through our window," said Jacobsen.

Witnesses said hundreds started running from the site to other streets where a car was reportedly turned over and police cars damaged.

A photograph posted to Twitter shows a group of nine young men standing on and around a police car.

Akron police said while officers were trying to evacuate the area a few of the people leaving the party started throwing bottles at the officers and their cruisers.

The officers eventually used tear gas and pepper spray to help disperse the crowds and to break up fights.

Police said several cars were damaged including a car that was flipped in the 600 block of Sherman Street, about two blocks away.

Officers arrested Donileo Cannon II, 26, of Campbell Street in Akron. He was charged with 'molesting police property' after he threw a beer bottle then kicked a parked Akron police cruiser, leaving a large dent, according to police.

They also arrested two others, ages 21 and 30, and charged them with burglary and obstructing official business after they were seen going into a home in the 400 block of Sherman Street and taking several items that belonged to the resident.

Organizers said all of the trouble happened away from the party site as the crowd was rushing to leave.

"Just a stampede all the way down Allen Street, and that's when all the crazy stuff happened, like they were throwing bottles, people pushing people, jumping over cars," said Unen.

"It's a complete disappointment. I'm disappointed in the people of Akron, people who brought themselves from surrounding cities and stuff like that, because our intentions were never to have a party where we would disrespect the people who keep us safe," said Young.‚Äč