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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- An end-of-year college block party spiraled out of control as police fired pellets and used pepper spray to break up hundreds of rioting students who sparked a string of street fires at Kent State University.
Video posted on the Internet shows students hurling furniture and street signs into the flames on Saturday night as a SWAT team in riot gear converged on the crowd. Kent police said the party grew violent after one reveler was arrested and students began pelting officers with bottles, bricks and rocks.
It was the first violent clash between Kent State students and police in years. In 1970, four Kent State students were killed by Ohio National Guard troops during a campus protest of the invasion of Cambodia.
Officers tried to chase students away from the street and shot them with paint balls and pepper spray, Wolford said. Many students ignored orders to leave, hiding behind houses and peeking out to see what was happening, he said.
"When police first started making their little charge down College Avenue, they yelled, 'Get in your houses or we'll arrest you,'" Wolford said. "When one student stayed on his lawn, two officers sprinted at him and just kind of grabbed him forcefully and arrested him."
On Sunday morning, splotches of paint stained nearby houses, and shards of glass littered the grass and pavement.
"The cops were being nice, and two minutes later we were shot by rubber bullets for no reason," junior Jamie Farrell told the university's student newspaper.