‘Widespread’ fighting at St. George youth facility results in multiple injuries

ST. GEORGE — Several students at a youth treatment facility in St. George were injured after police say a widespread fight broke out in the facility Sunday evening, triggering a massive emergency response.

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

At approximately 8:15 p.m., police received reports of students physically fighting each other at Red Rock Canyon School at 747 E. St. George Boulevard, St. George Police spokeswoman Tiffany Atkin said.

Staff at the facility requested assistance from police as fighting broke out throughout the facility. The school serves as a mental health treatment center for boys and girls age 12-18.

“We do know that we have students that were injured,” Atkin said. “We don’t know the extent of those.”

As of Sunday night, it was undetermined whether any staff members were injured in the melee. Atkin said there were no reports of firearms of any type being fired during the incident – by law enforcement personnel or otherwise.

St. George Police Department’s SWAT team was dispatched to the scene, and several students were detained. Some male and female students were seen in handcuffs sitting outside the facility. Atkin said whether any of the youth would face charges was yet to be determined.

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

Atkin said police were prioritizing getting treatment to those injured in the incident, and a plethora of ambulances were at the ready outside the facility. The entire stretch of westbound St. George Boulevard from University Avenue to 800 East was completely blocked off with emergency vehicles from multiple agencies.

“This is what we train for all the time,” Atkin said. “All the patrol officers, myself included, are trained to clear buildings like this.”

As of publication of this report, Atkin said it is unknown what triggered the incident, but she said the fighting was “widespread” throughout the facility, which currently serves 97 students who are under constant supervision.

No representatives from Red Rock Canyon School were available for comment Sunday night.

According to the facility’s website, the school offers therapy and substance abuse counseling to adolescents with emotional problems, such as poor self-esteem, depression, anxiety, impulse control, self-harm, obsessive compulsive disorder or other self-destructive behaviors.

Youth accepted at the facility may come with a history of drug or alcohol abuse, poor school performance, abuse or neglect and parent-child conflict issues.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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

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