Damage left behind after Lakers championship celebrations turn chaotic; 76 arrested

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Throngs of fans flocked to downtown Los Angeles Sunday night to celebrate the long-awaited championship win, but some left behind a trail of damage to local businesses near Staples Center.

The intersection of 9th and Flower streets sustained the most amount of graffiti and shattered windows, including a Starbucks store.

Police said 76 people were arrested in the aftermath of the massive gathering, most of them for failing to disperse after the LAPD went into tactical alert and declared an unlawful assembly. There was at least one arrest for vandalism and five for looting, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

An estimated 30 buildings were damaged with graffiti, shattered glass and other vandalism.

An orange Metro bus was also seen spray-painted with extensive graffiti and broken windows.

"It was frightening," said Mac McCarthy, a downtown resident. "The noises coming from out here were just incredible. It sounded like another protest to me, then someone reminded us it was a celebration."

Two people were sent to a hospital for injuries. Eight officers were also injured, including some who were hit by glass bottles and rocks.

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Thousands of fans gathered outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the Lakers winning their 17th NBA championship.

McCarthy, who is also a member of the neighborhood council, said it is disappointing to see the progress downtown has made as a neighborhood impacted by the vandalism.

"People used to take pride in downtown and we're in the middle of a big growth period, where businesses were doing well and people were coming to downtown," McCarthy said. "People aren't going to come downtown...when it looks like a mess."

Downtown resident Michael Fuller said he confronted two men who were spray-painting graffiti on the front of his building. "I said please, this is my home. I live here."

"I'm furious," Fuller added. "I'm getting to the point where I just can't take it anymore."
Many who showed up were peaceful, but some celebrations took a raucous turn as fans set off fireworks in the streets and cars performed "donuts" and "burnouts."

"I don't believe this is a celebration," McCarthy said. "I believe a celebration is something joyful, something you can be proud of. And I wouldn't be proud of this at all."

VIDEO: Fans set off fireworks, cars perform stunts in downtown L.A. after Lakers win title
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Multiple fireworks were set off and cars performed donuts in downtown L.A. after fans gathered near the Staples Center to celebrate the Lakers' championship win Sunday.

The rowdy celebrations unfolded despite pleas from local leaders, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, to avoid gathering in large crowds to celebrate the win because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

An announcement has not been made on an official city celebration, if any, amid the pandemic.
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