Feared rioting in smaller towns does not materialize

Staff Writer

CENTRAL KANSAS - Misinformation fueled fear of looting and rioting in parts of Sedgewick and Butler County on Wednesday night.

Despite rumors of mass looting and rioting that was said to be headed down HWY-254 and into El Dorado, none of it happened. The city remained quiet and the adjourning cities mirrored the silence.

That did not stop many from taking to social media, in fear of what could happen to their town.

The rumors started just after 12 p.m., how a bus full of protesters were coming from Wichita. They were going to go through Bel Aire, Park City, Benton and into El Dorado. Those areas remained relatively calm as night fall hit.

In Valley Center and other nearby cities, barricades were put up around courthouses. El Dorado Police Department went to local businesses and letting them know of said threat, giving the businesses them the choice to close up shop or stay open for the night.

The City of El Dorado put out an official statement saying they were fully aware of the threats and they were taking proactive measures to keep everyone safe.

Some businesses, such as Dairy Queen and Brew Co. shut down early, sending people home early to avoid the potential threat. Others, such as Gambino’s Pizza stayed open but put up plywood on their windows.

In Sedgewick County, the city of Wichita has dealt with some rioting and looting. Multiple places were broken into on Tuesday night. Rioters shot off bottle rockets at armed officers at 21st and Arkansas, where the QuikTrip was looted. The windows of Exploration Place were shot out sometime in the previous 24 hours.

However, a protest at 21st and Maize was peaceful. The organizers sent everyone home at 9 p.m. and then others who stayed behind, disobeyed orders caused the police to get into formation, leading to arrests.

In El Dorado, three policemen showed up at the Butler County Courthouse at about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday to hand out candy after they made a Facebook post. A couple of families showed up and four priests from churches within the city.

There were no droves of people looting El Dorado High School. There was not a crowd of protesters taking over the movie theater parking lot. No after-dark looting took place.