Virginia Beach police chief addresses college beach weekend

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — As concerns linger over the annual college beach weekend, Virginia Beach City Council members heard a report on the event at City Hall on Tuesday.

Police Chief Jim Cervera made his presentation during the afternoon briefings, breaking down what occurred at the Oceanfront from Friday, Apr. 28 to that Sunday.

The historically chaotic event isn’t city-sponsored, yet city agencies prepare for it year-round.

Cervera told council the police department spends months on outreach efforts, from preparing student ambassador volunteers to involving the Department of Justice.

Thousands sign petition to end College Beach Weekend in Va. Beach

The chief’s data revealed that this year, 191 people received charges, as opposed to 240 last year. The majority of people arrested this year were between the ages of 18 to 25. Half of those arrested were from Hampton Roads; the other half were from out of town.

Cervera said that most arrests were for liquor law violations. There were, however, several violent incidents: Multiple officers were assaulted, a person was stabbed and four people were injured in a shooting.

The shots rang out Saturday night on 18th Street. Cervera compared what ensued in the seconds afterward to a stampede, and praised his officers’ response.

“[People] were running north on Atlantic, south on Atlantic, and west on 18th,” he said. “Then a couple of dozen people responded straight to the shooting — and those are the cops. Why did they respond? Because they believe lives matter. They put themselves in those situations for people they don’t know, they’ve never met and have no connection to. And why do they do it? Because they’re cops and that’s what cops do.”