Woman uses self-defense spray on crowd at Olmsted County Fairgrounds, investigation ongoing

(ABC 6 News) – Rochester-area law enforcement reported fights at and around the Olmsted County Fair Wednesday night — one of which involved the use of an airborne spray against a large crowd.

Captain Tim Parkin with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office said just after 10:00 p.m. July 26, a group of young adults got into a fight around the parking lot on the south side of the fairgrounds.

According to witnesses and surveillance video, an adult woman pulled out a large canister of mace — which Parkin compared to the size of a can of bear mace — and sprayed the aerosol at some of the combatants.

As self-defense sprays lingers and sticks to sweaty skin for up to half an hour, Parkin said the Rochester Fire Department reported to the area and treated several fair-goers for minor exposure.

No one required medical transport, he said.

Parkin said the incident is still under investigation, but law enforcement personnel have identified several people involved in the incident and plan to conduct interviews Thursday.

Parkin also said law enforcement did not use any pepper spray against fair-goers Wednesday — though some people interpreted the incident as stemming from their intervention.

Rochester police also reported a fight involving 14-to-15-year-olds in the 1400 block of 4th Avenue.

Capt. Casey Moilanen believed the altercation had begun at the fair, then spread out into the nearby neighborhood, resulting in calls for law enforcement around 9:45 p.m.

Moilanen said the teenagers scattered when police showed up.