Long Beach cops issued a stern warning Friday to anyone looking to throw an impromptu bash on its beaches this weekend — after more than 2,500 people showed up for a “sunset party” that ended in gunshots.
“We are saying that if you think you are going to come down to the city of Long Beach and have a sunset party this week, you have another thing coming,” Long Beach, LI, Police Commissioner Ronald Walsh said at a press conference, according to ABC-TV.
Sunset parties are informal gatherings whose details spread across social-media platforms, often making them difficult for local authorities to anticipate. While beaches are public, permits are needed to hold large events on them.
Police in the Nassau County town said in a statement on Facebook that they actually anticipated Tuesday’s gathering, which began around 6 p.m. and mostly consisted of high-school students from the area, as well from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
According to the police, there was no reported criminal activity initially, and the crowds were “cooperative.”
Then into Wednesday morning, as the crowds were thinning, police responded to reported shots fired, which led to the arrest of two 18-year-olds, cops said.
Commissioner Walsh said that in addition to thwarting the illicit pop-ups, his department will be cracking down on illegal parking and reckless driving tied to the parties.
A similar situation happened last month in Long Branch, NJ, which prompted officials in that town to cancel their Fourth of July fireworks over fears of drawing large, unmanageable crowds.
On June 19, thousands of young people traveling from all over the state gathered at Long Branch’s Pier Village, which led to the arrests of four people for disorderly offenses.
“Our Public Safety Director has been in contact with state and county law enforcement officials. He has made the decision that this postponement is in the best interest of our residents and businesses,” the city’s director of public safety, Domingos Saldida, said in a statement.