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Police Commissioner: Rioters 'Came Right Out Of The High Schools'

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters late Monday night that a bulk of the rioters who pelted officers with rocks and bricks, inciting a massive display of looting and vandalism across parts of West Baltimore were area high schoolers.

"These are Baltimore youthful residents, a number of them came right out of the local high schools there on the other side of Mondawmin and started engaging in this," said Batts. "I think these were youth coming out of the high school and they thought it was cute to throw cinder blocks at the police department and address it that way."

Fifteen police officers were injured, six seriously, in the violence. One officer was knocked unconscious by the blows from flying debris, and others were said to have suffered broken bones. Batts said he thanked the officers he saw being treated in Shock Trauma.

A CVS on North Ave. at Pennsylvania Ave. was looted and set on fire, and many could be seen running in and out of the store with goods. Several cars were badly vandalized and some were set on fire as well.

"I am extremely disappointed at what has happened in this beautiful city tonight," said Batts. "I am disappointed that we could not be more responsible in an embarrassment that we have nationwide in our community. This is not protesting, this is not your First Amendment rights, this is just criminal acts doing damage to a community that is challenged in some ways that do not need this and do not need to be harmed in the way that we have today.

More than 500 police officers were eventually brought in to help push the rioters out of the area.

Batts applauded one mother who was seen smacking her son after seeing him take part in the violence and chided parents whose children were involved. "I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight," he said.

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