CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) - A Fourth of July celebration turned dangerous in Caruthersville.
"It got dark on the fourth of July and everything got crazy," said Chief Chris Riggs, Caruthersville City Marshal.
A Caruthersville police officer had to be taken to the hospital after being hit in the face by fireworks.
Chief Riggs says the officer is Evan Burns. Riggs says Burns was hit by a large mortar firework set off by someone in town. The officer was burned on his face and was treated and released from a local hospital.
"His injuries are very serious," said Chief Riggs. "We may not know how serious for several days."
Chief Riggs says this wasn't the only incident involving fireworks on the 4th of July. In a release, the chief says someone shot a mortar firework at another officer as that officer was trying to disperse a crowd. That officer was not hurt in the first incident.
Police arrested a 19-year-old Caruthersville man for assault first degree on a law enforcement officer, and armed criminal action for the first incident of the night. The suspect was taken to the Pemiscot County Jail on $150,000 bond.
Chief Riggs says agencies from the Pemiscot County Sheriff's Office, Hayti Police Department, Pemiscot County Juvenile Office, Kennett Police Department, Dunklin County Sheriff's Office, Portageville Police Department, New Madrid County Sheriff's Office, and the Missouri Highway Patrol were all called into help disperse large crowds and deal with the mortar rounds being shot at officers.
Eddie Bernard Lee, 22, was arrested for disorderly conduct and willfully opposing a law enforcement officer. Lee was taken to the Pemiscot County Jail on $529.50. He was released after posting bond.
Christopher Johnson, 30, of Caruthersville, was arrested for willfully opposing a law enforcement office, property damage and resisting arrest. Johnson was taken to the Pemiscot County Jail on $15588.50 cash only bond.
Jerome Mack Hayes, 32, of Caruthersville was arrested for willfully opposing a law enforcement officer. He was taken to the Pemiscot County Jail on $529.50 cash only bond.
Edward Tate, 28, of Blytheville, Arkansas was arrested for willfully opposing a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. He was taken to the Pemiscot County Jail on $1059 cash only bond.
Aaron Borders, 22, of Caruthersville, was arrested for willfully opposing a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. He was taken to the Pemiscot County Jail on $1059 cash bond. He posted bond and was released.
Several juveniles were identified and are being sought by Caruthersville Police and the Pemiscot County Juvenile Office. They are facing charges of assault on law enforcement, curfew violations and discharging fireworks in the city limits. The parents will be cited and charged through the Caruthersville Municipal Court.
Chief Riggs says the large mortar rounds are similar to those used at professional fireworks shows and are very dangerous. He says all fireworks are banned within the city.
Police and witnesses agree the incident quickly became dangerous.
"It was like Iraq," said Jimmy Hibbler, who lives near the scene.
"It just got out of control," said Betty Hunt.
Meanwhile, conflicting opinions do exist about the force used by police to regain control of the neighborhood when things got out of hand.
"Police were walking around with guns and it scared me," said Brandy Johnson.
"They had a right but I don't feel like they have to have guns," said Hunt.
"The police acted correctly," said Nugene Robinson. "They needed to be here."
"They did their job," said Hibbler.
"My officers have the right to protect themselves," said Chief Riggs. "We consider these mortar rounds deadly force."