A downtown celebration by about 400,000 Dallas Cowboy fans dissolved into sporadic violence Tuesday as police attempted to control surging crowds.
The swarm of people halted the celebration parade, although no players or parade participants were injured.
Running back Emmitt Smith said he removed his trademark jewelry after one fan, in an attempt to kiss him, climbed onto the convertible in which he was riding.
“You can’t get away from these people,” he said with a smile. “Look at them run in front of the car.”
More than two dozen people were taken to area hospitals as fights broke out among fans. Fourteen fans were arrested, mostly teen-agers, police said. There was at least one incident of gunfire and several stabbings, authorities reported. A 40-year-old man was in serious condition with a stab wound in the neck.
Initially, 350 officers were in place for the parade, but their number swelled to 460 as it became apparent that more than twice the expected number of fans attended the parade.
The crowd was swelled by thousands of students who ignored the official edict that they stay in school. Several Dallas schools reported absenteeism rates of 60% or higher.
One woman said she heard gunfire near the Earl Cabell Federal Building and fled into a store to escape danger.
“We all heard some shots,” said Diana Mitchell, who stood waiting at a bus stop with a friend.
Mitchell said she and a friend, Tonnette Johnson, ducked into a nearby department store.
“It was chaos,” Johnson said. “There were bottles flying around and people climbing on top of buses.”
Cowboy kicker Lin Elliott said he was not surprised there were some problems.
“It was so out of control, there were so many people,” Elliott said.