Monday, July 3, 2017

Breaking: Grand Haven State Park Evacuated+Closed After Massive Beach Brawl Involving Up To 300 People

Becky Vargo/Grand Haven Tribune

By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At

Grand Haven State Park was evacuated and closed Monday evening after a massive brawl involving as many as 300 people rocked the beach. Some referred to the fight as a "riot."

Police from multiple agencies responded to the disturbance a little after 8 p.m., including off-duty officers. Nearly 40 law enforcement officials were on scene.

Witness reports say at least 100-and possibly up to 300 people-were involved.

Police were seen brandishing rifles to break up the crowd.

The troublemakers are believed to be mostly from the Muskegon, Holland, and South Haven areas.

Social media posts indicate security measures implemented in South Haven after last year's fights on the beach there that injured police officers caused people to head north to Grand Haven.

No injuries have been reported, and alcohol is believed to be a factor in the incident.

The park was evacuated except for those staying at the campground. It was cleared out in less than an hour.

According to Becky Vargo of the Grand Haven Tribune:

"Police officers from several departments rushed to the crowded beach when officers using pepper spray couldn’t stop the fray from spreading.

“There was probably 300 people in the area and at least 10 different fights,” said Lt. Joe Boyle of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety.

Boyle said they decided to evacuate the entire park for everyone’s safety.

Officers also stepped up patrols around the city until they were sure the offenders had left town.

Bailey said there were fights on and off all day. There were also several medical situations involving drugs or alcohol.

Alcohol is not allowed in the state park.

At least five people were transported from the park by ambulance on Monday, Bailey said.

The incident that forced the park closure happened shortly after officials called for help on an unconscious 16-year-old female – alcohol related.

Bailey said DNR officers already had a perimeter on the area when the fights broke out.

At one point he was laying on top of the unconscious teen to protect her from the fray.

Grand Haven public safety officers quickly responded to the park, but didn’t have enough officers to bring the crowd under control.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies responded, as well as Michigan State Police and Norton Shores Police.

Workers barricaded entrances to the park and turned away people showing up to watch the sunset."

Check Out Photos Below:



Becky Vargo/Grand Haven Tribune

Becky Vargo/Grand Haven Tribune

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at

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