Twenty-five years ago today, Aggieville became home to one of the nation’s first college-sport inspired riots. Oct. 13, 1984, after K-State defeated the University of Kansas, 24-7, students and locals flooded to Aggieville in wild celebration.
“I didn’t know what was going on, but when I left at 6 p.m. I told my kids not to come to Aggieville that night,” said Roger Allerheiligen, owner of Campus Hairstyling. “That crowd was different, like at Rusty’s Last Chance, that crowd was just different than anything I had ever seen before.” Allerheiligen’s eldest was a K-State student at the time and for the first time told his son to avoid Aggieville.
More than 6,000 people crammed into Aggieville that night. After a smoke bomb was thrown into an unidentified bar, the celebratory atmosphere quickly changed. Partiers turned on police and before the authorities could figure out what happened, they were the target of an alcohol fueled rage.
A lieutenant in internal affairs, Michael Quintanar, said at that time, cars drove in both directions on Moro St. and the police were trying to maintain control of the area because it was complete gridlock. The alcohol kicked in and people started getting upset by the police trying to maintain order and then violence erupted with the police.
The next couple of hours became a nightmare scenario for local police. With less than 10 officers providing security in Aggieville, they were vastly outnumbered and unprepared for a riot to begin.
“We had to regroup because they were having things thrown at them; stones, big steins and glass pitchers,” Quintanar said. “They had all kinds of things thrown at them.”
Quintanar, a three-year veteran, at the time, was assigned the Aggieville district the night of the game.
The party-goers turned more violent as the hour passed, smashing windows, uprooting street signs and overturning a car. Police were so overwhelmed by the chaos that a call to return to the police station was sent out, leaving the rioters to rule Aggieville. Returning to their station proved challenging for the police officers.
“Many of us were actually on foot because we were chased by the students of Aggieville,” Quintanar said. “I got separated and had to make my way back solo, so I was in alleys, jumping fences and just trying to get the heck out of there.”
The police station was located at 600 Colorado St. 25 years ago. The call to return to the station came after an attempt to drive in more police was stopped by the rioters damaging the police cars. Due to the smoke bomb the police were unsure of what they would be facing and got gas masks and additional protective gear prior to returning to Aggieville. The police department had to call in their stand-by officers as well as K-State police officers and available highway patrolmen to assist in the crowd-control effort.
As law enforcement returned in greater numbers, they made a line on the west side of Aggieville and proceeded east pushing everyone back and allowing them to leave the east side of Aggieville and disperse. Together the units were able to band together and push the people out, shutting down Aggieville for the night. As the bars closed and unknowing bar inhabitants exited to the street, they were greeted by batan wielding police.
“A lot of the people that were down there to party, dance and drink. They were clueless as to what was going on out there [in the streets],” Quintanar said.
At one point, the Kansas Highway Patrol called Governor John Carlin’s office requesting a declaration of emergency and that national guard troops to be sent to Aggieville said Bill Muir, assistant vice president of student life. At the time Muir was a staff member of the governor’s and one of his responsibilities was to be the governors emergency coordinator.
“I was staying at a place where I could ask some folks exactly what was going on down there, and they said everything was over and settled down,” Muir said. “To bring in national guard troops [at that time] would not have been the best thing, I advised the governor to that and he did not send any troops.”
Muir said that with Aggieville emptied and under control of the local authorities it was best to allow them to handle the situation.
Once Aggieville was cleared out, the task of cleaning up the mess became the first priority. Nearly all of the store front windows had suffered damage and the street was filled with trash.
Allerheiligen received a call at 2 a.m. telling him his window at Campus Hairstyling was broken. He decided to remain at home until 4:30 a.m., hoping the melee would be over before returning to clean up.
“It looked bad, some of the storefronts were broken out, but a lot of them just had cracked windows,” said Allerheiligen. “They threw beer bottles through my window and stuff like that.”
Many store-owners and community members assisted in the cleanup efforts in the early hours of Sunday morning. Allerheiligen blamed the atmosphere of the crowd that evening for the events that transpired. After a 31-3 loss the year before K-State students were a bit too overzealous in their celebration Allerheiligen said.
“Since Bill Synder has been here, the students and the general public learned how to enjoy a victory,” said Allerheiligen. “…That [riot] was just ridiculous.