Waco police will be out in full force for fireworks show - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Waco police will be out in full force for fireworks show

WACO - With a history of unruly crowds and violence after the Waco fireworks show, police are set to be out in full force in downtown Waco Friday night.

Police sources say they're calling in all officers who aren't on vacation to work for the Fourth of July. In years past, crowds walking home after the show have thrown rocks, punched officers and mobbed a convenience store. That's why police want to be out there to control the crowds. 

After the Shop N Save on Elm Street in Waco was mobbed in 2013, the owner said he's closing early this year. The store usually stays open until midnight, but will close at 9:30 p.m. Friday night. A safety measure made partly because a clerk was punched and had his jaw broken in that mob. 

"Big mob of 60 kids came down to the store and ransacked the whole store," owner Jake Merchand said. "Very scary, 60 kids. I was in the store and I had to jump over the county and close the door."

The kids came over down Elm Street after the fireworks show. Merchand says he thinks they were a little more rowdy because the show was 90 seconds long. 

To help Merchand, Waco police will be all hands on deck Friday night. Sgt. Patrick Swanton says everybody works on July 4th. They expect 10,000 to 15,000 people in downtown Waco and Swanton says they'll have the officers and equipment to handle anything that happens. 

For Merchand, though, he feels happy to be closed early even though he'll lose out on business. 

"It's not worth a life, you cannot play with a life," Merchand said. 

Merchand also says he hopes to enjoy the fireworks show, something that brought him pain and frustration in the past. 

"I hope so, happy 4th of July," Merchand said.    

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