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Authorities investigating after crowd of 2,000 people gather at Wingfoot State Park in Portage County

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Posted at 1:34 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 13:34:42-04

MOGADORE, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Portage County Sheriff's Office are investigating a large gathering of approximately 2,000 people Saturday at Wingfoot State Park where trash was left behind and reports of shots fired.

A spokesperson for ODNR said people were asked to avoid the area Saturday as law enforcement worked to clear approximately 2,000 people from the park located in Mogadore in Portage County.

The sheriff's office said it appeared to be a Juneteenth-related gathering.

The drive from the front of the park to the back of the park usually takes about three minutes, but sheriff's office said it took squad cars approximately 28 minutes.

It took law enforcement about two hours to clear out the group. Once the crowd was dispersed, park employees noticed a large amount of litter behind, including bottle and beer cans.

Extra maintenance crews worked through the night and again on Sunday morning to clean the area in time for any Father’s Day gathering.

"It was a disaster how they left it...cars parked and driving on the grass," said Portage County Chief Deputy Ralph Spidalieri.

Spidalieri said the sheriff’s office is planning on having a meeting Thursday to figure out how they are going to deal with large parties at the park moving forward.

"ODNR was assisted by the Portage County Sheriff's Office, Summit County Sheriff's Office, Mogadore Police, Springfield Police, Hartville Police, Lakemore Police, and additional Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers from Summit, Stark and Portage County Posts. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the original call for help regarding shots fired," ODNR said in a statement.

RELATED: Police respond to Portage County park for disturbance during Juneteenth celebrationDownload the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

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