Four charged in fights near high school

Four young people have been charged with mob action after fights broke out outside Evanston Township High School Tuesday afternoon.

Police Cmdr. Tom Guenther says officers assigned to monitor the dismissal from classes saw a large group of people gathering around two subjects who were fighting in the 1900 block of Church Street at 3:49 p.m.

Guenther says that as officers tried to separate the combatants numerous other fights erupted through the crowd creating what Guenther described as an "extremely volatile" situation.

He says officers were forced into physical confrontations with combatants who ignored police commands to stop fighting.

One officer used his Taser, which Guenther says helped in controlling and the eventual arrest of one highly combative offender.

Guenther says one officer suffered an injury to his leg and four combatants were arrested, none of whom claimed to be injured.

Guenther says police learned some of the youths had used text messaging to plan and spread the word about the fight. Detectives confiscated the suspects' cell phones in an effort to substantiate that the fights were premeditated.

The four youths arrested have now been charged with two counts each of felony mob action.

They've been identified as Nate Burton, 17, of 7645 Bosworth in Chicago; Jeffery Alan Craig II, 20, of 1827 Lyons Ave.; Deshawn Joseph Thomas, 19, of 1724 Lyons Ave. and an Evanston juvenile.

They are scheduled to appear in Skokie district court on Sept. 21.

Update 5:09 p.m.: A statement on the ETHS website says only one of those arrested, the juvenile, is a student at ETHS.

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