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

Teens took selfies through tear gas at #Deltopia2014. 


Kate Knibbs


Published Apr 6, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 12:45 pm CDT

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

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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.

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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.

#deltopia2014 anyone else I know going ?

— ✝☯เซซี่เลีย☯✝ (@Cessseeezy) April 2, 2014

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

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Whatsup? Sb you were too good to me this weekend #deltopia2014

— Christopher Heng (@ChrisHnnng) April 6, 2014

#deltopia2014 where have you been all my life!

— ——— (@samanthaemazer) April 6, 2014

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— ¢нαяυѕ ʝσниѕтσи (@chaarbearr) April 6, 2014


— Tay ♛ (@taymorris) April 6, 2014

On our way to this 😍🙌🙈✔️ @jacoby_lopez @markeezy_beezy #deltopia2014 #deltopia#SantaBarbara #turnup #turndownforwhat

— Lucas remine (@swaggsofreshdoe) April 4, 2014

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— vaae❁ (@VanieJaay) April 6, 2014

Cali livin #Deltopia2014

— T.Y. (@Smooth_Goon) April 6, 2014

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Shit was TURNT UP! #deltopia #deltopia2014

— Rodrigo Hernandez P (@HotDogoftheDAY) April 6, 2014

Only photo I got lol #deltopia2014

— Alec (@alecdombkowski) April 6, 2014

#Deltopia2014 lol before the riot

— natalie (@NatalieVale) April 6, 2014

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These things really happen #deltopia2014

— Yareli Nolasco (@YareliNolasco) April 6, 2014

Some students passed out early.

#deltopia2014 #paceyoself

— Elsie Tut (@LCTut) April 6, 2014

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Rule number one, don’t fall asleep first. #deltopia2014

— Francis DeGuzman (@fcukinfrvncis) April 6, 2014

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. 

@lizzy_mondani: RIP Deltopia… Glad I could witness the last hurrah🙌 #deltopia2014 #rip4ever”holly shit awesome

— Alo ⚽ (@ihtsalondraaCx) April 6, 2014

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

Selfie after getting tear gassed😂 #deltopia2014

— Justin H (@Jewstinn) April 6, 2014

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

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Selfie of the year goes to this guy #deltopia2014

— Slayer (@AyeYoSavage) April 6, 2014

Selfie against swat #deltopia2014

— Juicy-J (@Doitlikejordy) April 6, 2014


— Trev Dominguez (@killaatrev) April 6, 2014

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#Riotselfie Reggie Zheng edition @amir_medina

— Jason (@jlub84) April 6, 2014

Riot selfie #deltopia2014

— Denzel Cagampan (@RealBobbyBusche) April 6, 2014

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#riotselfie #deltopia2014

— Lauren (@laurpedo) April 6, 2014

Niggas caught the tear gas can #deltopia2014

— ThatGuyDee (@IsThatDarrion) April 6, 2014

Cops shootin #deltopia2014

— WⅢ WAS (@TribeWILL) April 6, 2014

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Swat riot selfie game. Always rocking the chive gear though. #chiveon #thechive #chiver #riotmob #deltopia2014

— Clay Yantzer (@ClayYantzer) April 6, 2014

#RiotSelfie in #SB!!!!!!!!!! #deltopia2014

— Jake Gnasty (@lil_silentG) April 6, 2014

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It gets even more insane. 

Last night it straight up felt like we were in the Arab Spring @MendelSiegel @tomdembsky @Ronithalmos @rachaichele #deltopia2014

— Trill Bill (@BenKeilesKeiles) April 6, 2014

Tf happened last night #deltopia2014

— Andrew Medina (@atm_og) April 6, 2014

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Some guys are trying to flip a van so I started chanting “MOVE THAT BUS!” #Deltopia2014

— 〽️ichael (@Holsinger76) April 6, 2014

Cop got stabbed in the eye and we’re about to walk into a riot ?? #deltopia2014

— Nicole Volpe (@nicolevolpe55) April 6, 2014

@shaysaprocky: All that tear gas #deltopia2014” badass birthday bruh

— Aubrey (@AstroGumby) April 6, 2014

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First time going to Santa Barbara and I was in a riot #deltopia2014

— Makaela McGuire (@makaelamcguire) April 6, 2014

#deltopia2014 in Santa Barbara pulled a project x party it started a riot 😳

— Samantha ♥️ (@Sweetsz____) April 6, 2014

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The aftermath wasn’t pretty either.

Sunglasses and Advil. Last night was mad real. #deltopia2014

— fade into you (@GypsyDelRay) April 6, 2014

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Got shot with a rubber bullet last night… #deltopia2014

— Ogan Gencer (@ThaRealOGD) April 6, 2014

Just saw a car drive by with puke down the passenger side door. #deltopia2014

— AnnaGrace Arnold (@AnnaGrace_A) April 6, 2014

The outcome of #deltopia2014 getting clipped by a sandbag TURNUP #justwaitonit

— £dwin V. (@Godzillaedwin) April 6, 2014

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Cops used tear gas to get people inside their house Its fucken brutal. Coughing uo my lungs #deltopia2014 #islavista

— Blank. (@BDTigerGerm) April 6, 2014

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.

#deltopia2014 was the craziest experience of my life. Thanks SB

— Liv (@Livfree143) April 6, 2014

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H/T | Photo via @catalina_ann/@sweetsz____

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*First Published: Apr 6, 2014, 8:04 pm CDT