Rec Center Skirmish, Attack Closes Facility for Season

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An incident at a Philadelphia recreation center escalated to blows, injuring five people and prompting officials to close the center for safety concerns. 

Police are investigating the incident that took place at the McVeigh Recreation Center on Thursday at about 4:30 p.m., WPVI-TV reported. Staff members were attempting to remove three females for unruly behavior. They refused to leave and became hostile toward staff. 

"Staff members repeatedly told the females that they were not allowed to continue swimming and that they would have to leave," police said. "The females continued to refuse orders to exit the facility while sitting at the end of the pool taunting and threatening the staff. Subsequently, the staff shut down the pool, and all other occupants of the pool exited the pool without issue."

The three females then followed the staff into the rec center building, and two of them began swinging their arms at staff as the employees attempted to block them from entering the building. Once staffers were able to get the females outside the rec center, police say the suspects vandalized three parked cars.

"During this time, two unknown males gained access to the building and took a bag belonging to one of the employees, which was recovered," police said.

WPVI-TV reported that the females fled the area and no arrests have been made.

Five people, ranging in age from 17 to 63, suffered minor injuries in the incident, including leg and ankle pain.

The Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department said Friday that the McVeigh Recreation Center pool is now closed for the season due to concerns over the safety of pool staff and visitors.

City officials said that there have been many problems at this particular pool, including multiple break-ins after hours.

"We've had other incidents that have happened at McVeigh. In the evenings when pool is closed - almost every night since the pool has been opened - people are breaking into the pool, jumping in the pool, vandalizing pool and pool equipment," said Kathryn Ott Lovell of Parks and Rec. "We have to make sure that the safety of our staff and the children and families is first and foremost."

The rec center's summer camp will remain open, a department spokesperson said.

The department said the Scanlon Recreation Center pool, which is about one mile away, will remain open and offer free swim lessons and daily open swim.

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