WASHINGTON - A lively snowball fight on D.C. streets took a dark turn Saturday when anti-war protesters dressed in anarchist garb showed up, and a D.C. police officer pulled his weapon out of his holster.
The neighborhood snowball fight at 14th and U streets was advertised online. By 3 p.m., more than 200 residents converged for the massive snowball fight.
"No one meant any harm, no one meant anything by -- just having fun, it's highly unfortunate," said Tisha West. "We're Washingtonians and we like to play in the blizzard."
But things started to turn for the worse when the crowd -- some carrying anti-war signs and dressed all in black with masks -- began to pelt passing cars. A plain clothes
D.C. police detective emerged from a Hummer -- it's unclear whether it was his personal vehicle or an unmarked police vehicle -- after it was struck. The detective began yelling at the gathered crowd. At one point, he pulled back his jacket, exposing his service weapon -- it's unclear if he did this intentionally
. That's when things took a darker turn.
"It was pretty fun," said Jason Mogavero. "There were 200 people exchanging snowballs non-stop across 14th Street. And then, you know, when the gun came out, it changed the tone of the thing a little bit."
The gun belonged to a uniformed officer who showed up with his pistol out of the holster
-- he did not point it at anyone.
Assistant Chief Peter Newsham says the officer was responding to a 911 call reporting a man with a gun in the crowd -- apparently the man was a plainclothes D.C. police detective.
Newsham says the officer drew his weapon when he spotted a man matching the description of the armed person, but holstered his weapon when he recognized the plain clothes detective.
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MPD believes this was an appropriate response
given the nature of the call, Newsham said.
Newsham says the department will investigate if any inappropriate language was used by the plain clothes detective while responding to the snow ball fight.
D.C. police say the uniformed officer who drew his weapon at a snowball fight-turned-unruly protest was responding to a report of a man with a gun at 14th and U streets NW. The incident caused controversy after it was caught on tape by ABC 7 News.
The crowd dispersed after about 20 minutes. No one was detained by police.