Abeach party for Jeep enthusiasts in Texas this month resulted in two men being shot, nearly 200 arrests and viral video of carefree partying during a pandemic.
The annual “Go Topless Jeep Weekend” event attracted thousands of people to a peninsula along the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston.
“We’ve been in quarantine and, like, I need to get out and party,” one attendee, Chelsey Coyer, told TV station KBMT in a report shared widely on social media last week. The video showed many of the partiers flouting social distancing recommendations, which police said they were unable to enforce.
“You can’t. It’s not possible to do that on this beach with the amount of people we have here,” Galveston County Sheriff’s Sergeant Mark McGaffey told the station.
After a group of people got into an argument, two men were shot in the torso and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital, NBC News reported. Authorities said they arrested 189 people on various charges unrelated to the shooting, including assault, driving without wearing a seat belt, driving while intoxicated and public intoxication.
But the majority of those arrested weren’t Jeep owners, said Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset. “I can’t blame it on the Jeep clubs,” he said.
It was the second consecutive year the event led to more than 100 arrests. Texas allowed its beaches to reopen May 1.