WASHINGTON (WJLA) - There were sirens, fire alarms, and a mass of people running from Howard’s iconic yard, frightening images for a university steeped in tradition.
"We got a legacy built.. always the biggest Homecoming every year," says Howard senior Justin Dean.
But Homecoming turned into a melee on Friday afternoon as a crush of attendees tried to get into the much-anticipated YardFest.
"We're all upset about having to pay," says Savannah Bowen.
In the past, the event has always been free, but this year it was bumped up to a $5 admission. Then when a popular hip-hop artist known as "2 Chainz" was announced as one of the performers, the demand exploded and tickets started being scalped at high prices.
Lines didn’t move and people got frustrated, which is when everyone started rushing the gates and pushing to the point of trampling others.
Nine people were reportedly injured at the gates on 6th Street, including two MPD officers who were trying to calm the crowd.
"Students were pushing and shoving out past the police and running," describes Janelle Brown.
Students say at the root of this incident is a money grab by a university whose credit rating was recently downgraded.
"It's not worth it," says University of Maryland student Nichols Best. "It's not worth it for somebody to get hurt just for an event like this."
None of the injuries were considered to be critical.
YardFest was scheduled to include performances by artists including Big Sean, Juicy J, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.