GTA Wiki

Los Santos Riots

10,986pages on
this wiki
For the GTA Online deathmatch based upon this event, see The Los Santos Riots.

Los Santos Riot4

House in flames

Los santos riots

Police try to hold back rioters

The Los Santos Riots are the final events of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. A major event in the Grand Theft Auto series, the riots started because of the acquittal of Frank Tenpenny during the antepenultimate mission in the game, Riot and it extends from that mission to the final mission

The gameplay effects of the riots are enabled in-between missions, and make in-game gameplay treacherous.


The Beginning of the Riots

At Tenpenny's trial, he is accused of many charges including assault, corruption, sexual assault and police brutality; however, he is acquitted of all charges against him and Eddie Pulaski. Pulaski does not appear during the trial -- he is believed by Tenpenny and the media to be on the run, but the player/Carl knows otherwise. The charge of the murder of fellow officer Ralph Pendelbury (as seen in The Introduction) is also dropped. This sparks mass public outrage, leading to city-wide riots, yet these are mostly centered on the lower-class areas in eastern Los Santos. Carl Johnson and his friends/family (Madd Dogg, his sister, his brother, Cesar, Maccer and The Truth) watch the events at Madd Dogg's Crib, and on his way back to his house from Madd Dogg's crib, he first notices the riots.

Gameplay Effects of the Riots

The following conditions are in place within Los Santos during the riots, which continue even in-between missions:

  • Pedestrians will attack Carl, usually with their fists, with no provocation, while others will attempt carjacks on each other or Carl, making maneuvering difficult. Some even carry around television sets with them. Pedestrians will also attempt to drag Carl out of vehicles and then attack them with their fists or with firearms.
  • Carjacking - the primary element of obtaining cars that the player has depended on so much throughout the game - becomes a chore as the number of vehicles that the player can carjack plummets as many vehicles, including police cars and bikes, are abandoned and set on fire, exploding soon after.
  • Engaging in certain outdoor activities, such as dating, spraying tags, and street racing, becomes more difficult, as riot conditions can interfere. Other activities such as gang warfare also become more difficult since the riot conditions will interfere.
  • Fire Trucks and Ambulances will become almost ubiquitous amongst fleeing traffic, with the emergency services trying as hard as they can to control the raging fires and save the lives of innocent pedestrians. However, this makes navigation on foot more difficult for the player, as they can be caught off guard and ran over by the speeding vehicles. This can cost the player valuable time and health if they are trying to claim territory.
  • The sky over Los Santos darkens, presumably caused by smoke from flames and gunfire.
  • Many buildings catch fire, although the fire doesn't damage them.
  • The lights of lampposts will flicker constantly and traffic lights blink yellow.
  • Police officers in cars, bikes or on foot, are seen much more more frequently in front of CJ's house in Grove Street.
  • Police Mavericks can be frequently seen flying low over neighborhoods and around the city.
  • A loud, agitated murmur can be heard all across Los Santos.

The riots are confined to Los Santos; there is no rioting in Red County, Flint County, or any of the other cities and towns (San Fierro and Las Venturas).

Due to the dangerous nature of Los Santos during the riots, the player should exercise extreme caution around the city and it is not recommended to attempt any side-missions.

The Riots End

In the last mission of the game, Carl Johnson takes down Big Smoke in his crack den in Los Flores/East Los Santos. After Big Smoke's death, the building is blown up by Tenpenny, who then escapes in a fire truck, attempting to escape to the airport. Sweet grabs onto the firetruck, with CJ pursuing him in a white Feltzer. After Sweet is pushed off the truck by another officer, CJ catches him in the Feltzer, and they pursue Tenpenny through Los Santos, with many of the rioters throwing molotov cocktails and creating blockades. In crossing a bridge over Grove Street, Tenpenny loses control of the truck, crashing it into the road below and dying on the pavement. Due to his death, justice is seen to be done and the riots subside. In real-life, the officers accused of racially beating Rodney King were sentenced. Also, since the primary and secondary (Frank Tenpenny and Big Smoke respectively) antagonists of the game are dead, the game finally comes to an end at this point.


The riots are obviously based on the 1992 LA Riots.

  • The riots caused massive widespread arson, murder and chaos throughout the city; in fact, this chaos actually takes place between missions and has drastic gameplay effects (that can be activated by cheats). In real-life, around a billion dollars of property damage was done whilst 53 people died and thousands were injured.
  • Several LAPD officers were accused of unfair treatment to African-American Rodney King, after King had engaged in a high speed chase with several police cruisers and a helicopter. After his car had been stopped, King had refused to comply and resisted a police taser. His joints were severely beaten by police officers, after the failure of the taser. Dude to the court's inability to draw a verdict (the jury was mixed, knowing King had commited several serious crimes, but unwilling to fully excuse the officer's actions) they were acquitted, causing public outrage and race riots, in which many real gangs such as the Crips played a part. In the game, the riots ensue for a similar (but not exactly identical) purpose, starting when corrupt C.R.A.S.H. officer Frank Tenpenny is acquitted because of lack of evidence.
  • The Los Angeles Riots lasted six days (ending upon the California National Guard's mass protection of the area), and the final cost was $1 billion worth of damage, over 50 deaths and 2000 injuries.

In the HD Universe

According to some in-game dialogue and mention in the media inside Grand Theft Auto V, the Los Santos Riots also occured in 1992. However, since there's no continuity from the events ocurred in GTA San Andreas, the causes that sparked the events are unknown as they're not mentioned in-game.

Gang member glitch

There is a major glitch in the game when the riots are happening in Los Santos. If the player travels to any other town or city in the state, members from the Grove Street Families and Los Santos Vagos can be found talking in the streets, and driving around, quite frequently. The GSF members will recognize Carl and try to interact with him. The Vagos will also recognize that Carl is from Grove Street, but will react in a far less aggressive way than in Los Santos. If Carl aims a weapon at them, they will most likely run away. The two different gangs will keep peace, and will not interact with each other. GSF members, however, are less frequent than the Vagos, and can rarely be found anywhere else than in Las Venturas. The gang members will not appear after the riots subside.


  • If the player attacks a looter with a TV, the TV will drop and fall through the floor. If this is done on a bridge, the player can go to the water under the bridge and see the TV floating in the water.
  • When one enter any emergency vehicle, then go to an area where the riot occurred, the following dialogues on the police scanner has changed. While listening to one of the conversations, one can hear screaming, people shouting, sirens, explosions, alarms, etc.
  • When a train passes where the riot is started, the driver will get out of the train.
  • Strangely, if one walks close to a cloud of smoke coming from a building, and stands over it, it disappears.
  • When the buildings and houses are set in fire, the Firetruck that comes will shoot water out of control, not towards the house. This can sometimes happen even while the vehicle is racing past at speed, knocking the player over with a blast of pressurised water.
  • Police Radio Chatter during the riots reports riot related disturbances throughout the state. It is possible that the riots were originally planned to be throughout San Andreas and Rockstar forgot to remove the reports.
  • The riots seem to only occur on the eastern side of Los Santos, in the more impoverished and gang-infested areas. This can be noticed easily at the Mulholland Intersection, near the Inside Betting Track, where if the player goes slightly to the left of the building, the riots stop. This means that the more affluent western areas are unaffected by the riots.


Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki