Fight in Large Crowd Closes South Jacksonville Carnival Early, Rumors of Shots Fired Unfounded According to Police

By Jeremy Coumbes on May 6, 2023 at 10:10pm

The South Jacksonville Celebration ended approximately 90 minutes early Saturday night after at least two fights broke out.

At approximately 8:30 pm, a fight between two juveniles occurred on the east side of the Prairieland Heritage Museum grounds near the parking area.

According to South Jacksonville Chief of Police Eric Hansell at the scene Saturday night, two juveniles got into a physical altercation in an area where a large group had gathered just outside of the carnival near an exit to the grounds.

As the first fight was contained, a second fight broke out in the crowd and more tensions flared. South Jacksonville Police, Jacksonville Police, and one Illinois State Trooper in the vicinity, as well as officers on the grounds, all responded to the scene.

Chief Hansell says two adults and one 14-year-old male juvenile were arrested as a result of the altercations. Due to the large number of people gathered, and at least one suspect involved having ran back into the crowded carnival area, police ordered the carnival to shut down out of an abundance of caution.

Hansell says rumors of shots fired on the grounds are not founded, and there is no evidence any shots were fired or anyone possessed a weapon during the incident.

He said while still at the scene Saturday, it is a shame they had to close the carnival early, as the entire event had gone very smoothly both Friday and Saturday up until that point. Hansell said at the time he spoke with WLDS News at the scene that more arrests may have been made by Jacksonville Police but he could not confirm that at the time.

The carnival was scheduled to run until 10:00 pm Saturday night. Following the incident, the large crowd dispersed without any further issues. No known injuries were reported as of press time.

UPDATE Sunday May 7th 10AM

The following people have been arrested for the incidents at the South Jacksonville Celebration according to police reports:

A 14-year old male juvenile was cited at 8:18PM for disorderly conduct and resisting a peace officer after engaging in a fist fight in public at the northwest entrance gate, and refusing to stop fighting when told to do so by officer. He was later released to parents/guardians with a notice to appear in court.

34-year old Corina S. Fortune of Maple Creek Estates in Woodson was cited for disorderly conduct and resisting a peace officer and 19-year old Larissa A.M. Bragg of the 300 block of Marion Street was cited for disorderly conduct at 8:35PM. Police say the two women engaged in a fist fight in the parking area on the grounds of Prairieland Heritage Museum. Fortune was given the additional citation after police say she disobeyed lawful commands to stop engaging in the fight. Both have since been released with a notice to appear in court.