15 youths arrested this weekend for team fighting in Delmar Loop

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Fights break out in the Delmar Loop and at one point police say hundreds of young people were trying to get at each other. It’s called “team” fighting. Groups of young people who may represent a school or neighborhood get into a fight. Police insist it has nothing to do with gangs. Last week when one team fight broke a person got shot.

Major Jerry Leyshock with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police said there were many cops on the scene Saturday night, “There was plenty of police presence, that didn’t make them go away.”

Outbreaks of violence in the Loop over the years are not unusual.  Neighbors said things have gotten better. 91-year-old James Jackson has lived more than half his life here.  Jackson said, “It’s better now than it used to be cause we have more protection down here than we use to have use to be we didn’t have all this police.”

There were plenty of officers in this area Sunday afternoon and Saturday night. Still, that didn’t stop two hundred young people from getting involved, some watching some taking part in team fighting.  Authorities say the size of the crowd was fueled by messages on social media. It’s not good for business at restaurants and stores.  Major Leyshock said, “It unnerves some people with a group of fifty chasing a group of ten and that kind of stuff going on at one point we had two hundred people trying to get at each other last night.”

St. Louis city police made seven arrests Saturday night, one juvenile was firing a gun, no one was hurt.  Joe Edwards, a longtime Loop supporter and developer said statistics show the Loop is the safest in 40 years.  Edwards said, “If you look at this area 99percent of the time it’s nothing but happy people walking up and down the street and that’s what makes the neighborhood safe.”

Resident Jason Campbell said, “The instances of particular violence have been few and far between.” Two hundred young people and team fighting has got to have folks worried.” Police think once the word of at least 15 folks arrested during the weekend spread the team fighting will go away.  Leyshock said, “I don’t anticipate this going on all summer…I don’t think it will get worse, I don’t believe it will.”

People along Delmar said the team fighting did die out last year.