PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Four teens have been arrested on assault charges in flash mob attacks around Temple University in which college students were beaten, an officer was knocked down and a police horse was punched in the face, police said Monday.
Police said the attacks were carried out Friday night by bands of as many as 100 boys and girls.
Temple spokesman Ray Betzner told television station NBC10 that roving juveniles played a "cat-and-mouse game" with police.
In two separate attacks, police said students and others were surrounded and then punched, kicked, robbed and in some cases knocked to the ground by groups of 20 to 30 teens. Arrests have been made in only one of the cases.
In two other incidents that have led to arrests, police said a boy punched a police horse twice in the face as mounted officers were trying to break up a crowd at a street corner, and another threw a Temple officer to the ground.
Temple campus safety director Charles Leone told television station WPVI that it appears victims were picked at random and that students were not targeted.
But he said, "It's very concerning that you can get a group of juveniles to pull together that quickly and some become violent."
He said the university and city police will be stepping up patrols through the rest of the semester, especially because next weekend is Halloween. Temple serves about 34,000 full-time students.
The violence broke out after about 200 juveniles, apparently responding to social media posts, converged outside an off-campus movie theater, Temple police said in a report to the university community. For the next few hours, they said, the juveniles split into smaller groups, some of which assaulted people they encountered as they ran from police.