Police arrest 5 after riot at St. George treatment center results in 25 injured students

A line of Gold Cross Ambulances at the scene of a riot at Red Rock Canyon School in St. George, Utah, April 28, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Five juveniles were arrested Sunday night after a violent riot at a youth treatment center in St. George resulted in 25 injured individuals.

Law enforcement officers respond to a riot at Red Rock Canyon School, St. George, Utah, April 28, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The two-hour ordeal started just after 8 p.m. at the Red Rock Canyon School on St. George Boulevard, a residential treatment facility serving just under 100 male and female adolescent youth suffering from mental health-related behavioral issues.

Medical and law enforcement personnel arrived en masse at the school after facility staff requested outside assistance to help quell the ensuing riot, which was reportedly sparked when two students got into a physical confrontation and then escalated to involve additional students. Among the responders were fully equipped SWAT units and K-9 officers.

Over the course of about two hours, police swept through the facility and detained 12 students, St. George Police spokeswoman Tiffany Atkin said.

Five of those taken into custody were arrested and booked into a detention center on charges of assault, criminal mischief and inciting a riot. The suspects’ identities were not released by police due to their status as minors.

Law enforcement officers respond to a riot at Red Rock Canyon School, St. George, Utah, April 28, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Atkin said the remaining seven who were detained but not arrested may also faces charges after police review the incident.

There were 25 people, all students, who reported some sort of injury and received medical treatment at the scene. Five of those individuals were transported to the hospital for advanced treatment. Twenty additional students and three facility staff members were evaluated but declined medical treatment.

Atkin said injuries ranged from bumps and bruises to more serious injuries, including one patient who suffered a gash to the back of the head that required staples to close.

No injuries were reported among the responding law enforcement personnel, which included a mix of state, municipal and campus police numbering in the dozens, alongside many additional medical responders.

Bystanders watch as law enforcement officers respond to a riot at Red Rock Canyon School, St. George, Utah, April 28, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The massive response necessitated the complete closure of an entire block of westbound St. George Boulevard in front of Red Rock Canyon School, which includes a mix of office and in-patient residential space.

A representative at the school said the facility would not be releasing any information about the incident at this time.

The school admits youth age 12-18 suffering from a range of behavioral issues, such as anger management, impulse control and self-harm. Students receive round-the-clock care in a treatment setting that includes classes, therapy and substance abuse counseling.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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