A family of three was hospitalized and nine teenagers were arrested after a line-cutting incident led to a “nightmare situation” at Six Flags Great America’s Fright Fest this weekend.
Gurnee, Ill. police are still investigating the incident that occurred Saturday night in the Chicago-area theme park.
“It’s sad, it really is — this family was just trying to have a good time at Six Flags and it ended up being this nightmare situation,” Interim Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said Wednesday.
According to witness accounts, the incident began when a large group of people cut in front of the family waiting in line for a ride.
“Words were exchanged between the two groups, and member of the family asked the teenagers not to curse,” Smith said.
The 12-year-old was then “sucker punched,” police say.
“The father then stepped in to defend his son, and then the whole family was attacked by this big group of teenagers,” Smith said.
Police arrested Gregory Battle, 18, of neighboring town Waukegen, Ill., on charges of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, mob action, and aggravated battery in a public place, according to court documents.
The eight other minors involved ranged from 15-17 and were also charged with mob action, arrested, and taken to Depke Juvenile Complex Centers, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Smith said that the family is “very shook up” from the incident and have asked to be left alone at this time.
The victims have been released from the hospital, Smith said, but have suffered “significant injuries” that will be revealed in detail in court.
“It’s a really sad state of affairs when a large group of teenagers does something of this nature,” he said. “These kinds of situations don’t happen here.”
Smith said Gurnee is a smaller, quiet community in the Chicago suburbs close to the Wisconsin border. Tess Claussen, communications manager at Great America, told the Chicago Tribune that this was an “isolated incident” and the park has “zero tolerance” for this kind of behavior.
Police are asking for the public to submit any video of the incident to help conclude their investigation.
“We don’t know if more were involved,” Smith said.