Brawl after Warbirds’ game prompts investigation

Players, coaches, fans involved after West Texas’ victory

The Ector County Sheriff’s Office is busy collecting video footage and statements from people who attended Saturday’s West Texas Warbirds game after a melee broke out following their 50-6 drubbing of the Dallas Prime.

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said the half a dozen of his deputies who were providing security Saturday night had to ask for help from on duty deputies and the Odessa Police Department after multiple fights broke out between “more than a dozen, many, several” people.

Griffis confirmed players even went into the stands and attacked fans following the Warbirds’ final game of the season.

“To my knowledge, no one sought medical treatment or went to the hospital,” Griffis said.

Law enforcement officers identified every participant and every injured party and will be reaching out to them to obtain statements, Griffis said. If the injured want to pursue charges and sign affidavits, arrests will follow.

“No arrests were made last night. Our main goal was to get everyone broken up and dispersed,” Griffis said.

The investigation will likely take some time, the sheriff said.

“We’re going to be collecting all of the videos,” Griffis said. “I imagine it will be a somewhat lengthy process to get everything substantiated and corroborated.”

By videos, Griffis said he was referring to both body cam footage and people’s cell phone videos, many of which are appearing on social media.

Right now, it’s unclear who started the brawls, but it was “quite a deal,” he said.

“The Dallas team got their butt spanked and tempers flared,” Griffis said.

Warbirds head coach Tate Smith added that the altercation continued after a player from each team was ejected at the end of the contest.

Warbirds and Dallas coaches tried to break things up and get the teams in their respective locker rooms, but the situation quickly escalated.

“We were told by the officials that if there were any problems on the field that players would be ejected,” Smith said. “That’s what happened and it carried over after the game was finished.

“That team (Dallas) hadn’t lost in more than two years and we handled them pretty good.”

A press conference has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at the Ector County Coliseum to talk about Saturday’s game and the future of the franchise.

Six off-duty deputies are normally assigned to the game, but moving forward Griffis said they’ll be working with the coliseum director to “get protocols established for more security during the breaks and at the end of the games.”

What happened Saturday night was a shame, he said.

“Everyone needs to exhibit good sportsmanship,” Griffis said.