Bleacher brawl at Northside school injures administrator and stops game

Bleacher brawl at Northside school injures administrator and stops game

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Bleacher brawl at Northside school injures administrator and stops game

A Washington Township school administrator was injured in a fight that broke out between two adults and escalated into a brawl Thursday night near the end of a girls basketball game at Westlane Middle School.

Ken Cox, the school’s assistant principal and athletic director, was injured while trying to break up the fight at the school on Indianapolis’ Northside, Principal Linda Lawrence said in an update sent to parents of the school.

The extent of Cox’s injuries is not known, but Lawrence said he was treated at the hospital and released.

The fight broke out during the eighth-grade county championship game between Westlane and Creston middle schools, according to a news release from the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township. A witness said it escalated into a brawl that involved more than three dozen people on the basketball court.

“With the eighth grade team leading by 14 points and about 4:00 minutes left in the game, a physical altercation broke out between adults in the bleachers. Westlane students were not seated near the altercation and remained in their section of the bleachers,” Lawrence said in her note to parents.

Jeff Roberts, who was watching the game with his wife, said the fight started about 50 feet from where he was sitting and immediately spilled out onto the court. At least 40 people got involved, he said, holding and pushing each other.

The game was stopped because of the fight, the school district said.

“There was so much chaos, it’s so hard to tell who got involved,” Roberts said. “It was pretty disappointing to have parents attending a game to see someone behave like that in front of children.”

Roberts said the fight lasted about two to three minutes. He said he watched an injured man being taken from the court and into a side room.

Brian Clouse, coordinator of safety and security for Washington Township, said officials are conducting an internal investigation.

“The behavior of the adult spectators involved in this altercation (is) unacceptable and Washington Township will remain fully cooperative with law enforcement throughout their investigation,” according to a statement from the district.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police also investigated the brawl.

Two officers who were sent to the school Thursday night left after 10 minutes, said Lt. Richard Riddle, spokesman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. No reports were filed and no arrests were made.

But by the time police arrived a few minutes after the fight broke out, people had already scattered and left, Roberts said.

Lawrence, the school principal, tried to reassure parents in her voice mail and note.

“I apologize for this incident. Please know your child’s safety is utmost in my mind all of the time,” Lawrence said in the note to parents.

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Star reporter Jill Disis contributed to this story.

Call Star reporter Kristine Guerra at (317) 444-6209. Follow her on Twitter: @kristine_guerra .

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