78 from Alabama arrested as Panama City Beach grapples with disorder

An image from a press conference livestream shows some of the 75 weapons confiscated during one spring break weekend in Panama City Beach. Local officials said the city was targeted by a group of lawbreakers. Many of those arrested were from Alabama.Panama City Beach Police Department

Florida law enforcement officials say they arrested 78 people from Alabama in Panama City Beach, Fla., over the weekend and confiscated 75 guns as spring break revelry devolved into chaos.

“What we saw this past weekend is absolutely unacceptable,” Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said in a multi-agency press conference held late Monday morning. “The behavior of these pathetic cowards that came to our beach and committed these crimes, their actions will not be tolerated.”

The weekend apparently started on a rowdy note before coming to a head on Sunday afternoon, when a 21-year-old from Alabama was shot in the foot.
In a report aired before the shooting, Panama City-based ABC affiliate WMBB-TV reported that some beach roads had been shut down and some businesses had closed voluntarily, including a Walmart, due to gridlock and rowdy behavior. Interviewed at the time, Talamantez told the station that people were “acting a fool” but that there had been no violence and that he would not characterize any of the activity as a riot.
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