The wildest college beach party of the year turned into a full-blown riot

A spring break party turned into a riot in southern California. It’s OK if you weren’t there, because participants livetweeted the chaos. 

Students who attended a riotous annual party known as Deltopia in the beachside community of Isla Vista in Santa Barbara, Calif., spent the day documenting the Spring Breakers–esque debauchery. When the police response turned violent, their camera phones were already out.

The tweets and Instagram shots—there are thousands of them—nearly tell the story themselves. 

It started out like any outdoor event. There was a lot of hype.

It was hot, loud, and crowded, and the drinking started early. Group selfies were everywhere.

Some students passed out early.

But things devolved later in the night as a large-scale street brawl broke out, resulting in 44 hospitalizations. Police arrested over 100 partygoers but failed to maintain control of the rowdy crowd. They deployed pepper spray and tear gas. 

One teenager may have created a new genre of selfie… the tear gas selfie: 

More bystanders took more selfies amid the chaos. Some showed minor injuries sustained from rubber bullets. The #riotselfie hashtag started to take off.

It gets even more insane. 

The aftermath wasn’t pretty either.

But most woke up the next morning with enough photos and stories to last a lifetime. Or at least until next year’s spring break.

H/T | Photo via @catalina_ann/@sweetsz____

Kate Knibbs

Kate Knibbs

Kate Knibbs is a notable tech reporter and pop culture essayist. A former staff writer for the Daily Dot, her work has appeared in Gizmodo, the Ringer, AV Club, Digital Trends, Popular Mechanics, and Time.