Police Use Web Site To ID Guns N' Roses Rioters

By | January 31, 2003 at 12:00 AM

The fallout from Guns N’ Roses’ aborted winter tour continues. Police in Vancouver, British Columbia, have set up a Web site with photos of 47 fans they suspect were part of the riots that marred what was supposed to be opening night of the band’s first North American tour in more than nine years.

“We believe all of these individuals participated in crimes ranging from causing a disturbance to taking part in a riot, criminal mischief, and breaking and entering,” said spokesperson Sarah Bloor of the Vancouver City Police Department, which posted the Web site on Wednesday.

Bloor said three suspects marked as “identified” on the site represent a trio of fans identified before the page went up. They are expected to face charges related to the rioting but have not been charged yet. So far no tips from the site have led to the identification of any suspects.

When Guns singer Axl Rose failed to show up for the November 7 concert, approximately 8,000 fans began to riot, causing more than $400,000 in damage to General Motors Place. Police have struggled to identify and arrest those suspected of inciting the riots, which is why they decided to try this unorthodox method of policing, Bloor said.

“The Web site allows us to go to a wider market internationally and nationally and might allow people from British Columbia or Alberta to help us identify these individuals,” she said.

The images and video clips of the suspects were obtained through warrants served on media outlets who covered the heavily hyped tour kickoff.

The concert was canceled before the doors to the venue opened, angering fans who then rammed glass doors with metal barricades and threw bottles and rocks. Rose’s management company has said the singer was en route to the venue when the plug was pulled. After 20 minutes of unrest, police moved in with dogs, pepper spray and batons.

Bloor said visitors to the site can anonymously identify the suspects if they wish. Though she did not have a count of how many people have visited the site, Bloor said police have received three dozen tips over the past week.

The future of the band was thrown into doubt when the tour was abruptly canceled following a second Axl no-show and riot in Philadelphia.

A Guns management spokesperson would not comment on the Vancouver investigation but confirmed that “Axl and the band are continuing the recording of Chinese Democracy,” the group’s long-delayed new album.

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