What started as innocent horseplay and drinking during a snow day for college students Friday at West Virginia University turned into a melee with "riot gear, mattress fires, tear gas, and pepper ball guns, the New York Post reported.
The scene was documented in a grainy cellphone video that shows police firing at the students what appears to be compressed air guns that were loaded with non lethal projectiles paintball pellets filled with pepper spray, The Morgantown News reported.
It happened in front of a few houses on North Spruce Street, which is near "fraternity row" and the WVU student union building, according to the Morgantown News. The area is regularly patrolled by campus police.
"Students got a little too jovial and I'm afraid got carried away," Morgantown Mayor Bill Kawecki, told media. "It's unfortunate that they couldn't simply enjoy the snow without turning it into some circumstance where people were in danger," he said. "As near as I can tell, the university isn't receiving it very well either."
University officials released a statement about the incident Friday evening after the video went viral on social media.
We remind our students that our actions should represent our Mountaineer values. Behave responsibly, be accountabl… https://t.co/Ig8P0ihArp— WVU Mountaineers (@WVU Mountaineers)1549059272.0
"The escalation apparently began when the several hundred students and others who had gathered refused reasonable instructions to disperse and began tossing glass bottles and other debris toward officers, resulting in law enforcement taking action," the school wrote on Twitter.
Some Twitter users responded by writing that the university police used too much force against the students. Police at the scene were tight-lipped about what had happened, according to reports.
WVU also noted that the situation turned "dangerous and threatening" for both students and officers.
Police are reportedly reviewing the video footage and arrests could be made, according to reports.
Classes were cancelled for WVU students since Wednesday due to extremely cold weather from the polar vortex that hit a large swath of northern states.