UPDATED (Fairfield)—There was a developing situation in Fairfield this morning.
Officials from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department say officers were called to a campus in Vedic City this morning to help with an unruly person when the situation became tense. A number of students reported turned hostile and forced Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies to call for back up help from Fairfield Police, the Wapello County Sheriff’s Department and the Iowa State Patrol.
Officials in Fairfield say about 50 students were involved in the matter.
Release from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department:
On March 11, 2014 at 0600 hrs, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by personnel of the pandit project on Invincible America Drive to assist the security personnel as there was a pandit leader that was being escorted off the property and they were worried that there would be problems. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was there only to ensure the safety of all involved.
Prior to the pandit entering the van to leave the property, there were approximately 60 to 70 other pandits that had congregated in the area. These pandits became increasingly agitated and resorted to throwing rocks at security and sheriff personnel. The pandit was loaded in the van and as the van was leaving the area, a larger group of pandits ran towards the front gate area. The van did exit the area and was not stopped by the large group. The large group then knocked down a gate that adjoins 170th street and started walking east on 170th Street blocking the whole street.
The sheriff’s personnel attempted to divert the large group back onto the pandit complex but were unable to do so. The group then surrounded the marked patrol vehicle and threw rocks at the driver, threw rocks at the back window breaking the window, they attempted to break off the mirrors, kicked out a back light and were rocking the vehicle. There were approximately 70-80 pandits surrounding the vehicle. The sheriff’s vehicle was able to back away from the crowd and call for assistance.
The large group then continued east on 170th street picking up rocks and debris and continued to throw these at the sheriff’s vehicle. After some time, pandit personnel were able to stop the group about ¼ to ½ of a mile from the property and after some time were able to walk them back to the pandit property. Law enforcement agencies staged close to the entrance of the property on 170th street to contain the group if they did come back onto the roadway. All units were able to go back into service at around 1000 hrs. Assistance was provided by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Reserve, Fairfield Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Department of Transportation Vehicle Enforcement, Iowa DNR law enforcement, Wapello County Sheriff’s Office and the Fairfield Fire Department. No personnel were injured during this incident.