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SAPD fires pepper balls to control wild Spurs fans

Police chief: Revelers threw rocks, bottles, shook SUV

San Antonio police had to take action Thursday night after Game 1 of the NBA Finals to control a group of rowdy Spurs fans by firing pepper balls at the ground.

Police Chief William McManus said the revelers got too carried away and began exhibiting dangerous behaviors near Southeast Military Drive and Pleasanton Road.

"They were throwing rocks and bottles, and they were rocking, shaking an SUV that was trying to pass by," McManus said.

He said officers fired pepper balls at the ground to get the crowd to disperse.

No one was arrested or injured, McManus said.

On Friday morning, McManus directed a reminder toward fans, hoping to keep trouble from growing as the championship series progresses.

"We can't let our excitement get to the point where property is destroyed, people are injured," he said.

Spurs fans have been known to take to the streets, most often downtown, to show their team pride.

Usually, the impromptu parades of cars on streets like Commerce and Houston are loud, but peaceful.

"It's ballistic. They're honking their horns up and down the street, pretty late into the night," said Jason Thompson, a Miami transplant and Heat fan who lives downtown.

After a group of celebrators began cruising along the 400 block of Houston Street Thursday night, a traffic light was down for the count.

The metal pole was sheared off its base and laid on the sidewalk Friday morning, with pieces of its red, green and amber lights shattered nearby.

"One of the revelers, one of the Spurs fans, accidentally lost control and wasn't paying attention," said Bill Sanchez who was working in a nearby apartment building. "Those things happen."

Although the destruction may have been accidental, police said it's no excuse.

McManus said fans have to behave better.

"We don't want anyone to be arrested because the Spurs are winning," he said.


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