Originally Published: April 29, 1978
Author: Tim Carr
A canister, apparently of tear gas or ammonia, routed a crowd of 13,500 attending a concert by rock star Alice Cooper Friday night at the St. Paul Civic Center. The concert was stopped.
Eleven people were treated at St. Paul Ramsey Hospital for eye irritation and smoke inhalation. An emergency room nurse said no one was expected to be hospitalized.
Police said last night that no suspects were being held in connection with the incident. Security personnel had searched people entering the concert for liquor bottles or anything resembling weapons.
About 10:20 p.m., about an hour after Cooper came on stage, the canister was thrown into the first section of bleachers just off the stage at the east side of the center.
Cooper and his band were performing their biggest hit record, "School's Out," with the stage lights on. After the canister was thrown, Cooper continued to sing, apparently oblivious to what had happened for about two minutes. At the end of the song the light went up and those who hadn't already evacuated left spontaneously.
The evacuation, according to a member of the audience, was "orderly, but everyone dashed out and within five to 10 minutes the arena was empty."
Frank Scinlaro, Cooper's tour manager, said, "We've never experienced anything like that and we had extra security of our own on to avoid something like this."