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Norwalk Police: Crowd at Beach Not Gang Related

NORWALK, Conn. – A large group of teenagers wearing the colors of opposing gangs caused the brief closure of Norwalk's beach Memorial Day, Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said.

The teens were intimidating patrons of Stew Leonard's Grill and were too much for the lone police officer on duty at the beach to handle, police said. As a result, weekend police presence at the beach will be stepped up.

No one was arrested or seriously injured.

The officer on-duty at Calf Pasture Beach called for help at 3:23 p.m. Monday. He said Crips and Bloods were fighting, a dispatch report that resulted in a news report in The Hour about gang activity at the beach.

"He used that term, but I think it was more in the heat of the moment that the officer said that because they were wearing red and blue, but there is no affiliation with the Crips or Bloods with these two groups," Rilling said. "They were just opting to wear those colors. The colors of the Crips and Bloods, traditionally, the national organization or the national gang, that you would see, they'd wear blue and they'd wear red. These two groups opted to wear red and blue, but there is no affiliation with the Crips and Bloods."

Police have a "significant amount of criminal intelligence" on the two groups and know they are not in a gang, Rilling said, adding, "They were wearing the colors. They are 'self-proclaimed.' "

The teens, who varied in age from 13-18 according to Rilling, were wearing white T-shirts with either red or blue markings, Sgt. Lisa Cotto said. Accounts vary as to how many there were, perhaps up to 200. They had arranged to meet at the beach, Rilling said.

The group separated into two groups and intimidated beach goers.

"They kind of did a stand-off," Rilling said. "There were no major fights, it was just little skirmishes breaking out. The officer was there alone, he did the best he could to regain some sort of control but when he would move them along they would move to another part of the beach. Eventually, threatened with arrest, they ended up leaving the beach on their own."

The beach was closed for about 30 minutes. When it was reopened, police watched to ensure the troublemakers did not come back.

"If you recall, we had the same thing occur at the beginning of last summer on the Memorial Day weekend," Rilling said. "We immediately took steps to correct it. We're going to be stepping up police presence at the beach on the weekends and into the evening hours. We're going to be having our street teams making a lot of sweeps through the beach and we're going have zero tolerance for any type of activity on the beach."

Correction made, 3:50 p.m.

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