MEMPHIS, March 31 (UPI) -- Free admission day at the Memphis Zoo, sunny weather and no school combined for a free-for-all at the zoo and a nearby park, authorities say.
Police had to clear out Overton Park for a while Tuesday evening after a day of enjoying the zoo turned into fights and gunfire, The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reported Wednesday.
Clint Hermes told the newspaper he saw two boys in a group of five or six send people fleeing with their gun play.
"A couple of guys just pulled out guns and for no apparent reason, just started shooting in the air," Hermes said. "At that point, everybody just started running."
The zoo closed at 5 p.m. after having admitted a single-day record 25,314 people, but fights broke out as large crowds were still milling about the zoo and the surrounding neighborhood, the newspaper said.
Zoo spokesman Brian Carter said there is a lesson to be learned.
"When we anticipate large crowds like that at the zoo, we need to look at ways we can initiate new security measures and admission practices," he said. "It can't just be doing regular business."
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