‘We’d rather come and run people off than put children in body bags’: Anniston Police Chief warns about the dangers of graduation parties

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 5:26 AM CDT
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ANNISTON, Ala. (WBRC) - Chief Nick Bowles says they want graduates and their families to celebrate the momentous occasion, but he wants to see it happen safely and responsibly.

Last year, Anniston Police responded to calls from hundreds of people at a party, and several began shooting at one another. Six people were shot, and Chief Bowles says it was a miracle that none of the injuries were life-threatening and no one lost their life.

He says this year, party goers must be vigilant.

“If they see weapons call the police department, we’ll handle it,” said Bowles. “That’s what we’re here to do. We would rather come and run some people off or check some people if they are there with weapons than come and put children in body bags.”

It’s a graphic warning, but Chief Bowles says parents and children need to hear it.

“It starts with this group of ABC people who are invited, and that’s all that’s supposed to be there,” says Chief Bowles. “But this XYZ group decides to show up and may not get along with ABC, and then violence erupts. That may just start with fist fights or words or whatever. But more and more these young folks have been turning to violence with weapons with firearms, and the result is devastating.”

One way to prevent your child’s party from this type of violence is to have security. Chief Bowles says you can hire an officer with their department

“There are legal ways at city meeting centers or places like that it will also bring police officers in for a cost,” says Chief Bowles. “Some of that stuff will really bring down any violence. You know you’re not going to show up to a party with a police officer there that are not going to let them start any trouble.”

He wants to remind adults who plan to chaperone these parties that if they see weapons or any violence, they should contact the police.

“The alternative is not calling the police and having gun violence erupt at your party and then that adult possibly being a part of the people who get charged because they let this happen,” says Chief Bowles. “Parents can talk to their kids as well. If they’re going to send them to these parties, hey, you need to be aware if somebody shows up and starts some stuff starts, fights, leave. It’s your time to go.”

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