School division condemns fight after graduation, police investigating

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Police are actively investigating a fight that happened after the Phoebus High School graduation Saturday. They are working to identify the people involved.

10 On Your Side has learned at least two people involved were students, one of whom was a graduate.

Viral cell phone video shows the fight in the parking lot of the Hampton Coliseum. It lasted less than a minute in length. The commotion drew a large crowd.

Monday, Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Hampton City Schools Diana Gulotta told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings, “Students work 13 years to get to this day and we had family members and relatives there from across the country celebrating the greatness. For there to be a 43 second fight that was instigated by some people not even associated with graduation, it is very disappointing.”

Although police say they don’t know why the fight started, Corporal Ashley Jenrette told 10 On Your Side it began with people who knew each other.

“This was not some random act of violence that occurred,” she said.

Hampton school officials say 236 Phoebus High School students received diplomas Saturday.

The school division condemns the act of violence.

“That’s certainly not our expectation and Hampton city schools is very disappointed that a very formal, wonderful occasion celebrating our students has been over shadowed by this,” Gulotta said.

Hampton City Schools released the following statement:

Phoebus High School had a terrific celebration to recognize their graduates. Unfortunately, a few individuals, including adults, engaged in an altercation in a parking area at the Hampton Coliseum after the event. Hampton police were nearby directing traffic, but this altercation ended before they arrived. Therefore, there is no police report available.

We are proud of our graduates and saddened that this altercation has served as a distraction to the recognition of years of hard work by our students and their families.”

Police said officers — who were already there handling security and traffic — couldn’t get to the scene of the fight until after it was over.

“During the time when this incident actually occurred, there were several medical incidents that were called in. Medics were not on scene and our officers were sent to those medical calls,” Corporal Jenrette said.

Investigators say people still around when officers did arrive wouldn’t help, but police hope the viral video makes a difference.

“The fact that its being shared so many times were hoping it will help in the investigation as far identifying those individuals but it’s very unfortunate because this incident and how many times it’s being shared and how many times it’s being viewed overshadows the accomplishments of the individuals on that day,” Corporal Jenrette said.

School division officials say the current student who was involved could face disciplinary action when school resumes in the fall. The punishment could range from 10 days out of school to long term suspension.

If you have information about this fight, please call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.