Beale Street patrons describe night of chaos - KCTV5

Beale Street patrons describe night of chaos

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A. Schwab was also caught in the stampede. A. Schwab was also caught in the stampede.
A startled employee looked on as people forced open the door to avoid the stampede, knocking into racks of merchandise. A startled employee looked on as people forced open the door to avoid the stampede, knocking into racks of merchandise.
An affidavit reveals that police managed several large stampedes for a full block on Beale late Saturday night. An affidavit reveals that police managed several large stampedes for a full block on Beale late Saturday night.

(WMC-TV) - Damage and disorder took over the historic Beale street Saturday night. What was described as a "stampede" by police resulted in a broken store window, people being knocked to the ground, and several disorderly conduct arrests.

An affidavit reveals that police managed several large stampedes for a full block on Beale late Saturday night.

"Right in front of the store, the Beale Street Gift Shop, all of a sudden, you see people start to panic," said Chris Thomas, Beale Street Gift Shop.

A swarm of people suddenly rushed the gift shop.

A startled employee looked on as people forced open the door to avoid the stampede, knocking into racks of merchandise.

A couple from Kansas City was in the heart of the chaos.

"There was just a big wall of people and a giant stampede pushing everybody back and somebody pushed me over," said Kansas City resident Sarah Krzysztow.

"All of a sudden, somebody just yelled, 'Fight, Fight' and people just started falling down and pushing against each other," added Adam Pearson.

"There was a cop standing on his car calling for help," said Krzysztow.

A. Schwab was also caught in the stampede.

"We got here this morning and our windows were broken out," said A. Schwab manager Kate Mauldin.

The glass on the front door of A. Schwab was broken. They say the store was open for six hours and nothing was missing when they arrived Sunday morning.

"That's a testament to what Memphis really is," said Mauldin.

Proprietors say the rare times they have problems are after midnight, Saturday into Sunday.

Last Christmas Eve, a stampede followed a deadly shooting outside Club Crave, which is now closed after being deemed a nuisance.

"We have got to make sure we do not send the wrong perception to tourists and local people about what's going on Beale," said Thomas.

"The street's picked up real quickly and went back to normal like that," Mauldin said, snapping her fingers.

The reported chaos followed a busy Saturday downtown that included a Grizzlies playoff games, the final event for Memphis in May, and a Redbirds game at AutoZone Park. Thousands of people went to Beale Street to celebrate. 

Downtown Memphis Commission chair Paul Morris said he was downtown with his family Saturday night. He said this weekend was a huge success for downtown.

"I always come to Beale Street. It's awesome. It's not going to change my opinion of it," said Pearson.

No major injuries were reported.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV . All rights reserved.

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