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Melee Breaks Out at Hip Hop Award Show in Crystal City

Update on 3/7/11 — Another video of the brawl has been posted on DMVLife.com.

Update at 3:05 a.m. — A video posted on AllDMVHipHop.com (NSFW) shows a group of nearly a dozen people fighting inside the hotel.

A huge brawl broke out at a local hip hop award show in Crystal City Saturday night, sending several people to the hospital.

Multiple fights broke out at the 2011 DMV Music Awards at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, authorities said. Reports of more than 20 people fighting amid an audience of more than 1,500 prompted Arlington County police to take the rare step of sending every available unit to the scene.

“We’re going to need everyone,” an officer radioed to the dispatch center just after 9:30 p.m. “Apparently the whole place is out of control.”

Police arrived after most of the fighting had been broken up. Arlington officers were joined by units from Alexandria and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, a witness said. Some officers were armed with assault rifles, riot shields and other tactical gear, according to multiple witnesses.

The violence sent at least five people to local hospitals, according to Arlington Police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal. Among the injured were a hotel employee and an individual who suffered “severe trauma to left eye.”

As of 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, no arrests had been made, according to Nosal. At that time police were still conducting an “active investigation” inside the hotel, Nosal said.

Local resident Doug Wendt witnessed the aftermath of the melee from outside the hotel. He reported this from the scene:

Approximately 30+ police cruisers converged upon the scene within minutes, as well as multiple paramedic units. While uniformed officers – some wearing tactical gear – and plainclothes detectives searched the hotel for suspects and persons of interest, victims were being treated on the streets outside the hotel by emergency medical personnel. Medical staging areas were set up on South Clark Street in front of the Hyatt, as well as at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott hotel. Police units clogged Crystal Drive and South Clark Street as patrons streamed out of the hotel after the event was ended as a result of the incident.

According to TBD, the general manager of the hotel said security for the event was provided by “police, a private company, and the hotel’s own security staff.”

No word yet on why the fighting started.

Photo courtesy Doug Wendt. Hat tips to Doug, Alan and John.

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