Final Four win celebration - scooter fire

Texas Tech fans surround a pile of Lime scooters set ablaze during the celebration of the team’s advancement to the NCAA Championship on Saturday, April 6, 2019, on Broadway.

On Saturday, the Texas Tech men’s basketball team defeated Michigan State, 61-51, to earn a spot in the National Championship game against Virginia.

Following the historic win, Tech students and fans flooded Broadway and began to chant, cheer and enjoy the victory. As time passed, the number of people on the street grew, and the Lubbock Police Department shut the street down.

The crowd then began to get rowdier, starting with people standing on the roofs and hoods of cars parked on the street. I assume this sparked an idea in someone’s head because moments after, fans flipped a car over and stood on the bottom of it.

A couch then surfed the crowd and was set on fire in the middle of Broadway. People then proceeded to throw beer cans and Lime scooters into the growing bonfire.

As the fire grew, the police force attempted to control the craziness as a riot team moved in on the action. The riot team threw what appeared to be tear gas after bottles were thrown at them.

Fans also were climbing on top of anything they could, including signs, trees and the roofs of stores — all in the name of celebrating a Final Four win.

The majority of the fans truly came out to celebrate Tech’s historic win with other Red Raiders, but the few rowdy fans have put Lubbock in the national spotlight. News outlets such as CNN, ABC 13, FOX News and Sports Illustrated posted videos of the chaos which has given the city a bad rep.

Along with news outlets, celebrities such as NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and rapper Lil Nas X also went to Twitter to speak about the riot.

The riot occurred after a win to place the Red Raiders in the National Championship game, many are wondering what the city will be like if Tech brings home a championship title.

From what I’ve seen, the Lubbock Police Department did not make any arrests on Broadway, even though fans were throwing items at the riot squad and shot gunning beers in front of them for pictures.

The Lubbock Police sent out a statement on Twitter mentioning their goal was to disperse the crowd but have moved to a criminal investigation. Those who participated in criminal activity such as arson, violent behavior, destruction of property and others will face criminal charges. LPD and Texas Tech officials are trying to identify students involved in the acts.  

I could only imagine the police will head into Monday more prepared for the chaos. I would assume the police, SWAT and fire department will be on the scene before the championship game starts to be proactive.

Tech fans took the saying ‘burn the boats’ literally. Everyone can only pray a National Championship win will be handled more effectively, and the fans will respect the city in the national spotlight.

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