Caruthersville police officer injured in fireworks incident Monday

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. -- A Caruthersville Police Department officer was injured by a firework during patrol Monday, and seven arrests were made in connection with the Fourth of July disturbance that brought out officers from several nearby law enforcement agencies.

Around 10 p.m., officers were on patrol in the area of East 12th and Vest streets in reference to individuals discharging large fireworks and large crowds gathering on the streets, according to a news release issued by Caruthersville City Marshal Chris Riggs.

Upon arrival, police noticed several juveniles wearing backpacks in the 1200 block of Vest Street.

Riggs said the juveniles fled on foot when approached by officers. "CPD officers gave chase," said Riggs, "however, the juveniles got away."

Officers then received information that some of the individuals firing large mortar rounds -- large ball-shaped fireworks that are typically shot out of a tube -- at crowds and bystanders were juveniles, carrying the fireworks in their backpacks.

When returning to his patrol vehicle, an officer was injured when someone threw a large mortar round at him that exploded in his face, according to Riggs.

The officer, who remains unnamed, was rushed to the Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and later released for burns to his eyes and face. The extent of damage to his eyes was unknown as of press time, Riggs said.

This was the second such incident of the night in which a mortar round was thrown at an officer attempting to disperse a crowd. The first did not include an injury; however, a suspect was arrested.

Riggs said several juveniles have been identified and are being sought by the police department and Pemiscot County Juvenile Office.

They will be facing charges for assault on law enforcement, curfew violations and discharging fireworks in the city limits.

"The parents of these juveniles will be cited and charged through Caruthersville Municipal Court for the actions of their children," Riggs said.

Due to the large crowd and danger to officers, Riggs said assistance was requested from several agencies, and those responding included the Pemiscot County Sheriff's Department and juvenile office, police departments from Hayti, Kennett and Portageville, Mo., as well as the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Dunklin County Sheriff's Department and New Madrid County Sheriff's Department.

Pertinent address:

Caruthersville, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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