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

Teens took selfies through tear gas at #Deltopia2014. 


Kate Knibbs


Posted on Apr 6, 2014   Updated on 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. 

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.

#deltopia2014 anyone else I know going ? pic.twitter.com/O57IC3NNV2

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

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

Whatsup? Sb you were too good to me this weekend #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/GWIms4EVHk

— Christopher Heng (@ChrisHnnng) April 6, 2014

#deltopia2014 where have you been all my life! pic.twitter.com/lgYEBQ7jOP

— ——— (@samanthaemazer) April 6, 2014

#deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/VVZS0AMYtt

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

#deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/4sf0uOA2Xc

— Tay ♛ (@taymorris) April 6, 2014

On our way to this 😍🙌🙈✔️ @jacoby_lopez @markeezy_beezy #deltopia2014 #deltopia#SantaBarbara #turnup #turndownforwhat pic.twitter.com/x4wYCh6A02

— Lucas remine (@swaggsofreshdoe) April 4, 2014

#deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/hJ5Z3WQqKi

— vaae❁ (@VanieJaay) April 6, 2014

Cali livin #Deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/ZI0BBCWkQn

— T.Y. (@Smooth_Goon) April 6, 2014

Shit was TURNT UP! #deltopia #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/aJJeit7cgi

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

Only photo I got lol #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/r3nU1AX6NH

— Alec (@alecdombkowski) April 6, 2014

#Deltopia2014 lol before the riot pic.twitter.com/KGGHbO6deR

— natalie (@NatalieVale) April 6, 2014

These things really happen #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/qAKGqM5p86

— Yareli Nolasco (@YareliNolasco) April 6, 2014

Some students passed out early.

#deltopia2014 #paceyoself pic.twitter.com/lkQzqG9X7D

— Elsie Tut (@LCTut) April 6, 2014

Rule number one, don’t fall asleep first. #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/Tffyetpt9p

— 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 pic.twitter.com/tGloUB0ssa”holly shit awesome

— Alo ⚽ (@ihtsalondraaCx) April 6, 2014

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

Selfie after getting tear gassed😂 #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/VYdwL4vl6G

— 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.

Selfie of the year goes to this guy #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/a26fAuijdT

— Slayer (@AyeYoSavage) April 6, 2014

Selfie against swat #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/dhvIxOtz6k

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

#deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/EApoEjrV6P

— Trev Dominguez (@killaatrev) April 6, 2014

#Riotselfie Reggie Zheng edition @amir_medina pic.twitter.com/1otKoxQ4jD

— Jason (@jlub84) April 6, 2014

Riot selfie #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/ch0SRVGpvZ

— Denzel Cagampan (@RealBobbyBusche) April 6, 2014

#riotselfie #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/KJUjEv3OPS

— Lauren (@laurpedo) April 6, 2014

Niggas caught the tear gas can #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/cjpbjQ6C2W

— ThatGuyDee (@IsThatDarrion) April 6, 2014

Cops shootin #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/rApgEjiWgI

— WⅢ WAS (@TribeWILL) April 6, 2014

Swat riot selfie game. Always rocking the chive gear though. #chiveon #thechive #chiver #riotmob #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/LfrIOPyste

— Clay Yantzer (@ClayYantzer) April 6, 2014

#RiotSelfie in #SB!!!!!!!!!! #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/9mt7mNeXRm

— Jake Gnasty (@lil_silentG) April 6, 2014

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 pic.twitter.com/KTrM7b01Z7

— Andrew Medina (@atm_og) April 6, 2014

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 pic.twitter.com/I6Z5Qmrbjk” badass birthday bruh

— Aubrey (@AstroGumby) April 6, 2014

First time going to Santa Barbara and I was in a riot #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/IzmUwK9jYz

— Makaela McGuire (@makaelamcguire) April 6, 2014

#deltopia2014 in Santa Barbara pulled a project x party it started a riot 😳 pic.twitter.com/Cw8WTVovgl

— Samantha ♥️ (@Sweetsz____) April 6, 2014

The aftermath wasn’t pretty either.

Sunglasses and Advil. Last night was mad real. #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/mdbryad6n8

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

Got shot with a rubber bullet last night… #deltopia2014 pic.twitter.com/u7dV96BMod

— 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 pic.twitter.com/zVeIqRBzvh

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

Cops used tear gas to get people inside their house Its fucken brutal. Coughing uo my lungs #deltopia2014 #islavista pic.twitter.com/C1icFTRlBF

— 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 pic.twitter.com/z2v50DcYEL

— Liv (@Livfree143) April 6, 2014

H/T news.com.au | Photo via @catalina_ann/@sweetsz____

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