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Tear gas used to break up fight at high school basketball tournament in Raleigh

By WRAL Staff

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    RALEIGH, North Carolina (WRAL) — Tear gas was used to stop a large fight that broke out during a basketball tournament at Wake Technical Community College’s Northern Wake campus on Wednesday night.

The fight interrupted a final game in the 49th John Wall Holiday Invitational — one of the top high school basketball tournaments in the nation. The tournament features some of the top boys and girls basketball teams in the state and country.

Over 100 NBA players, including at least three No. 1 picks in the draft, have played in the tournament.

A spokesperson for the event said the fight broke out between fans in the stands as Farmville Central and Life Christian Academy from Kissimmee, Fla., played. A security officer responded, but security was “stretched thin” due to an on-court fight that had occurred in the previous game, the spokesperson said.

Some people used their cell phones to record the fight. In one video, you can see people under the stands. At one point, a chair was thrown across the basketball court at somebody.

It is unclear what triggered the fight.

The security officer used tear gas to control the chaos, and the gym was evacuated. Due to the lingering effects of the tear gas, Holiday Invitational leaders rescheduled the game for Thursday morning.

The new schedule for Thursday is as follows:

Farmville Central vs. Kissimmee, Fla., Life Christian, 9 a.m. Winston-Salem Christian vs. Lynchburg, Va., Virginia Episcopal School, 10:30 a.m. Wilson Greenfield vs. North Mecklenburg, noon Miami Columbus vs. Charlotte Chambers, 1:30 p.m. Severn, Md., Archbishop Spalding vs. Farmville Central/Life Christian loser, 4 p.m. Lincolnton Combine Academy vs. Hudson Moravian Prep, 5:30 p.m. Raleigh Word of God vs. Castaic, Calif., Southern California Academy, 7 p.m. The Burlington School vs. Farmville Central/Life Christian winner, 8:30 p.m. All games will take place at Wake Tech, but only half of the normal crowd will be allowed inside for security reasons. Security measures will also be increased.

Bryan Hanks, a spokesperson for the event, said organizers are working diligently to make Thursday’s events safe.

“This event has taken place for 49 years we’ve never had anything even close to something like this,” Hanks said. “I can guarantee you nothing like that happen today is going to happen today.”

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