City leader vows change after Fair Park violence



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 12:15 PM

DALLAS - Talk of change was in the air a day after fights and a shooting broke out during the Kwanzaafest Saturday night at Fair Park.

Dozens of police officers swarmed Fair Park Saturday evening after several fights broke out and a 15 year old was shot. Most of the violence was concentrated at Grand Avenue and Cullum Boulevard.

"For me, it was real scary because I am on this lot parking cars, and just to see somebody with a gun," said Greg Hudson, who witnessed the violence. "And bullets don't have a name."

Police said the trouble started as people were leaving Fair Park. Three events were happening within the Fair Park area Saturday night, and included a tree-lighting ceremony, an opera and the 18th annual Kwanzaafest, which attracted the most people. At least 30,000 people attended the festival.

Event organizers said they ran a safe event, and were staffed with plenty of security.

"We have eighty officers, both interior and exterior," said John Wiley Price, Dallas County commissioner. "[There was] nothing we could've done any different."

But Price admitted the large crowds became problematic. It forced them to shutdown the event, and 3,500 people were turned away.

"I'm sure it caused some irritation," he said. "But then, when they began to linger, we don't allow people to linger."

City leaders said they will look into possible solutions to bringing more control to the event in 2009.

"That's number one," Price said. "And number two, it's going to be a lot more limited. We are going to get more creative on how we control the Saturday crowd."

Fair Park officials were not available for comment.

The teen who was shot is reported to be in good condition.