LAKEWOOD, Ohio – Charges were filed Monday night against some of the 23 people arrested over the weekend in connection with a huge street fight in Lakewood.
Police responded to the intersection of Hird and Detroit Avenue at about 6 p.m. on Saturday after getting numerous 911 calls about the fight.
Several callers reported shots being fired.
Three bullets hit a car belonging to Jeff Koteles who was working at The Foundry, a club that was hosting a weekend metal and hardcore rock festival.
Koteles said he watched as the fight escalated.
“People yelling at each other, shouting insults, name-calling, whatever, and one side had a couple of baseball bats. I saw a hammer and then within 30 seconds of them shouting insults at one another, all of them started going at it and it went from almost a one-on-one fight to about two on one to three on one to one side just getting completely beat up bad and it lasted about two minutes before cops showed up,” said Koteles.
Police on Monday said one of the people arrested was from the greater Cleveland area. Others were from Toledo, Cincinnati, Youngstown and even as far away as Elkhart, Indiana.
Five people were treated at local hospitals, several with stab wounds.
“It appears that there were two groups that possibly came together through some sort of mutual arrangement for a fight and had that fight at the corner probably anywhere from 75-100 people. There were some gunshots fired into the crowd,” said Lakewood Police Chief Timothy Malley.
On Monday, police shared details with a prosecutor who has expertise in gang activity while still trying to determine exactly what happened.
“As of now we haven’t put a final definite decision on what brought everybody together here. We haven’t quite put that together but certainly two large groups, one coming from one side, another coming from the other side, meeting in a particular parking lot lends a lot of credence to the fact that it was probably pre-arranged,” said Malley.
Police had not ruled out the possibility that the two groups are a sub-faction of people who associate themselves with hardcore music bands, a small group of followers who may have come to Cleveland anticipating a confrontation.
Mark Witherspoon, the manager of The Foundry, said when the fighting started, the club’s security locked the doors and kept all of their patrons inside.
“This was an isolated incident between two factions of gangs. They may or may not be associated with some bands but the matter of the fact is this was something that was outside. It never entered the venue,” said Witherspoon, adding, "we didn’t know what they were planning, and they ended up convening, conveniently, right at our place. We had no prior knowledge whatsoever.”
“We have had hardcore bands before here and never had a problem. We’ve had pretty much every band on that bill here previously and never had a problem,” said Witherspoon.
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