In America, violence is not a new phenomenon. In 1990, a driver who was crazed mowed down Detroit Pistons fans as they celebrated their NBA championship win killed four people, including three kids. Massive looting, car fires, and other crimes were also committed in the city.
Chicago’s three first NBA championships, in 1991, 1992, and 1993, resulted in 1,000 arrested and $10 million in damage. Random gunfire was reported in the midst of looting, mayhem, and fires across the city. At least one person died.
But far and away, the championship city for rioting after sports championships in Denver. On four previous occasions, Denver has gone wild when one of their sports teams won a championship: 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001.
Mile High City’s worst riot ever happened in January 1998 after the NFL team Broncos had won their Super Bowl. Over 10,000 fans went on a rampage.
Drunken fans destroyed cars and looted or vandalized city buildings. The damages were in the millions. After another Broncos victory, 1,000 Broncos supporters rioted on a smaller scale.
The Nuggets won their first NBA championship last night. Around three hours after that final buzzer, a gunman opened fire a mile away from the arena. Nine people were injured, including three in critical condition. Police also arrested the perpetrator after he was shot.
Doug Schepman, a spokesperson for the police department, said that an investigation is still underway to determine what caused this altercation which resulted in shots being fired. It did happen in an area where there was a large gathering of people celebrating the night before.
Schepman reported that fights broke out and several shots were fired following an altercation between several people around 12:30 am near 20th and Market. As part of “a complex investigation,” police investigators were trying to figure out who shot the suspect on Tuesday.
The crowds had started to thin out around Market and Twentyth when the incident broke out.
“I thought I was safe last night when I went out. “We had all this armory out there, and all the police officers. It was like a military security guard,” said 55-year-old Scott Dangelo in an interview on Tuesday.
The Washington Post tried to understand the violence that followed a championship.
Researchers have examined the phenomenon of violence among sports fans and found some surprising answers. Researchers attribute violent behaviors to a complex mix of factors, including intense fan identification, changes in behavior when people join a mob, and strong physiological and psychological responses when your team loses or wins.
There is sports fan violence all over the globe, but American fans are unique in some ways. In contrast to European soccer hooliganism in which opposing team fans often harm each other, American fan violence is typically limited to vandalism and violence directed against inanimate objects. This is according to Jerry Lewis, a Kent State University sociologist who has studied fan violence for decades.
Denver may have also been affected by the urban gang element. The police report states that “several individuals” exchanged fire during the shooting. This information strongly suggests that the shootings were gang-related, especially due to the fact that they were so indiscriminate.
After a sporting event, cities go to great lengths in order to prevent violence. The cops cannot be everywhere at the same time, so rioters will find a place that is not being patrolled to loot or set ablaze.