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Police: Smoke bombs from crowd inflamed Tucson riot

PHOENIX — An unknown person tossing smoke bombs set off a small riot in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday night, police said Monday.

“The crowd grew in size and then someone in the crowd threw out smoke bombs and that just kind of set things off,” said Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor.

About 50 of the 140 of those staged in the event of a conflict were wearing body cameras. Villasenor said the footage is being examined to build a complete story of the riot.

“We’ll be look at everything in totality in making our determination,” he said. “If we acted inappropriately, we’ll hold ourselves accountable.”

Villasenor said he felt his officers behaved appropriately, despite video evidence possibly showing an officer shoving a woman who did not appear to be involved in the riot.

“I think that our officers showed tremendous restraint when the crowd was pelting them with bottles and fireworks and cans and so forth,” he said.

Police are investigating the shoving incident.

Fifteen people were arrested, nine of which were University of Arizona students.

The riot happened shortly after the school’s basketball team fell to Wisconsin in the NCAA Men’s National Basketball Tournament.