Non Fred Fest violence alarms mayor

Photo by Dan Kohler Police ticket a participant with a violation of the open container law on Friday. Saturday night was even worse for patrols.

“Non Fred Fest” degenerated into violence this year, with a shooting, stabbings and a severe beating. Fredonia Mayor Michael Ferguson vowed Monday that it will never happen again.

“We cannot handle this alone. We are forming a coalition of people from all forces, the college, business, students, village to address this NOW so that this never happens again,” he texted the OBSERVER.

The mayor added, “Too many outsiders are being invited into our community.”

Ferguson said Police Chief David Price was up at least 28 hours straight over the weekend. The total number of Non Fred Fest arrests would be delayed. “We’re still trying to get all the exact facts and figures,” Ferguson said.

Police scanner reports on Saturday night and Sunday morning included a gunshot victim on Water Street and a pair of stabbings on East Main Street. Another incident involved pepper spray at a location on Water Street. Ferguson mentioned the severe beating, providing no further information about it.

Fredonia Police Department said “large unruly crowds gathered throughout the weekend, primarily on Canadaway Street and the downtown area of the village of Fredonia.”

The most severe and time consuming incidents, according to Chief David Price, included:

— A report of a shooting on Green Street. Officers arrived and located one victim, shot in the leg and back. A tourniquet was applied on to the leg, subsequently the victim was transported to ECMC in Buffalo by Fredonia Fire and Rescue. The victim is currently listed in critical but stable condition, and is a resident of Buffalo.

The victim was struck by gunfire from a drive-by shooter, after an earlier altercation with unknown individuals at a residence on Green Street. Witnesses describe several gunshots, which were later confirmed by investigation. Information indicates that all the subjects of the investigation were participants of the gatherings on Candaway Street and downtown Fredonia.

There have been no arrests, and the investigation is on-going. Anyone with information regarding the incident may contact the Fredonia Police Department Criminal Investigations at 716-679-1531.There have been no arrests, and the investigation is ongoing.

— Also, a structure fire occurred at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at 5 E. Main St. in a third floor apartment, requiring vehicular and pedestrian traffic to be diverted through downtown streets for approximately 90 minutes.

The mayor was asked if there was enough police manpower to handle Non Fred Fest. “We do have mutual aid all weekend,” he replied, “State, (Chautauqua County) Sheriffs, and (SUNY Fredonia) college police were side by side with our police all weekend resulting in incredible overtime for all involved.”

The Non Fred Fest springtime party weekend for SUNY Fredonia students takes its name from an on-campus festival that ended in 2015. Though the festival ended, the partying remained, mostly moving off campus.

There was also a stabbing at last year’s Non Fred Fest. Ferguson promised in late March that a group of community stakeholders, similar to what he is now proposing, would work on issues surrounding the annual party weekend.

However, he later acknowledged there was not enough time for such a group to have much effect on this year’s edition.


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