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911 calls obtained from Rich South High School fight; Crystal Gholson, 17, and 9 others charged with felony mob action

Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Police: Multiple groups involved in Rich South fights 911 calls obtained from Rich South fight 10 charged in Rich South HS fight 10 students charged in Richton Park fight
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On Wednesday, ABC7 obtained the frantic 911 calls after a brawl broke out earlier this week at Rich South High School in the south suburbs. At least ten students were charged in connection with the brawl.

Police say there were multiple fights among multiple, unrelated groups of students. It wasn't just a single fight that grew out of hand. Police also say the vast majority of the students who were arrested are female. And those 911 calls show that even after officers arrived on the scene, the fighting didn't stop. The calls came from school officials who were overwhelmed by the scene around them.

Operator: "911, where's your emergency?"
911 caller: "I need security at South, police at South. We've got a major fight."
Operator: "Ok, where at?"
911 caller: "At the front. I need it right away, as many as we can get."

Minutes earlier, someone at Rich South High School had pulled the fire alarm. As students poured out of the building, they encountered other kids from rival Rich Central High School, who'd been bused to Rich south after evacuating due to a bomb threat.

911 caller: "Hi, we need assistance immediately at Rich South High School. We have Rich Central kids here."
Operator: "Ok."
911 caller: "And they are trying to riot. They're all over the place."
Operator: "Ok, ma'am."
911 caller: "They're on cars. They've pulled our fire alarm."

"There were several groups fighting, and they weren't even associated with each other. It was not a good situation to have that many kids surrounding the outside of the school," said Chief Elvia Williams, Richton Park Police Department.

Even after police arrived, students continued fighting. At least three students and a teacher suffered minor injuries.

911 caller: "We're trying to contain the kids."
Operator: "Ok."
911 caller: "I need more police support over here. We're trying to contain them."
Operator: "I understand that. There's more police on the way, and there's an ambulance on the way."
911 caller: "Ok. We have a teacher hit."
Operator: "Ok, yeah. They're on the way."

"Once we'd break up one fight, in another area of the school, another fight would take place," said Chief Williams.

Ten students are now charged with felony mob action, including 17-year-old Crystal Gholson, who appeared in court Wednesday and was accused of hitting another girl multiple times.

"She's not a person who is just going to be lashing out and striking out at anyone in a violent manner," said Austin.

Her attorney Wednesday questioned whether Gholson was among those fighting and pointed a finger at the school district.

"The focus seems to be on persecuting and prosecuting these children. They shouldn't have been there in the first place," said Haley Austin, defense attorney.

"I think the students bear the most responsibility. They know right from wrong, they're high schoolers," said Chief Williams.

Gholson was released on a $20,000 I bond, which means no money technically had to be paid. The judge said she must maintain a C-plus average and attend school every day. She has not been expelled from Rich Central, her family said.

In addition to those ten students who face felony charges, police say four other female students were arrested Tuesday after showing up at another student's house, attempting to retaliate after the fight. Those four have been charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

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