Cell phone video provides an inside look at how hundreds of teens turned a fun night at the Florida State Fair into complete chaos.
The video shows the chaos in its early stages. Teens are seen flooding the midway and then taking off in a pack, knocking down everything in their path.
Deputies called it "wilding."
"It's not 100 kids when they start to 'wild'. We're looking at sometimes 400 to 500 kids. And it really is a stampede," Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office's Colonel Jim Previtera said Wednesday.
It was destructive, to say the least.
"While this was going on, we were dealing with fights that sometimes dealt with 150-200 youth. We had deputies that were assaulted with trash cans. We became the targets of candy apples. We had several deputies who were assaulted trying to make arrests," Previtera said.
Hillsborough deputies say they were prepared with hundreds of deputies on the fair grounds. But they say out of the estimated 50,000 people at the fair that night, the majority were involved in the 'wilding.'
"This year, we were prepared that there might be a problem. The problem this year is that it manifested early and it multiplied quickly," Previtera said.
Despite the incident, those in charge of security at their fair say it's still safe to go. The Florida State Fair is implementing new rules to make sure this never happens again. Anyone entering with a free student ticket now has to be accompanied by an adult if they're coming in after 7 pm.
The Sheriff's Office is also revamping their security measures to include new aerial command posts throughout the midway of the fair.
Dozens of kids were kicked out following the chaos Friday night. Fourteen-year-old Andrew Joseph was one of them, but the 8th grader never made it home Friday night. The Riverview boy was hit by a car while he tried to cross Interstate 4.
Joseph's family is turning to their faith and support from their loved ones right now, but losing their little boy has been simply unbearable.
Andrew Joseph, better known as "Pee Wee," was in the 8th grade at St. Steven's Catholic School in Valrico. His dad tells FOX 13 he was a star football player with the Brandon Ravens, and was also serious about his school work.
He was supposed to go through confirmation at his church last weekend, but his family got the call every parent fears.
"Even in the sorrow, we are going to move forward, by the grace of God and we are going to celebrate his life as we move forward with funeral services. We're just asking for the prayers of the community for his family and for everyone that knew andrew because that he touched, he impacted their lives greatly," family friend Sonji Coney Williams said Wednesday.
A candlelight vigil will be held in Andrew's memory Thursday night, at Providence West Park. Funeral arrangements are set for Saturday.
The family wouldn't go into their thoughts about what happened or why he was leaving the fair, but they do tell us they have hired an attorney.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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