Nightly News   |  April 06, 2014

Massive Spring Break Party Turns Violent

A Santa Barbara, Calif., spring break party with 15,000 people devolved into chaos and violence.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> update. authorities in southern california found themselves with a dangerous emergency on their hands when a spring break party involving 15,000 people disintegrated into chaos and violence. it happened in santa barbara . we get more tonight from john yang .

>> reporter: overnight police said they used flash grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets to sub did you crowds throwing rocks, bricks and bottles in the beach side community near the university of california , santa barbara .

>> there were so many calls every where. things on fire. everyone is screaming.

>> reporter: videos were quickly posted on social media . it took until this morning to restore order.

>> all of a sudden we saw a lot of smoke and couldn't breathe. i was choking.

>> reporter: authorities said the trouble escalated around 9:30 saturday night when a police officer trying to break up a fight was hit in the head with a backpack filled with bottles. there were more than 100 arrests and at least 44 people were taken to the hospital. among the injured, at least six officers including one hit in the face with a brick. earlier authorities responded to reports of a stabbing and people carrying weapons. many hospitalized were drunk. a nationwide student survey last year ranked uc santa barbara as the number two top party school . the unsanctioned annual spring break party had its own facebook page and draws large crowds of young people from around the region. today on facebook many blamed visitors for the problem. thank you out of towners for making a mess that we as iv residents have to deal with. what happened tonight is an embarrassment. thanks tourists. others said it wasn't so simple. if anybody actually believe out of towners caused 100% of the damage yesterday, come on, really? as tonight a seaside community cleans up after an unwelcomed right of spring. john yang , nbc news.