Eight arrested after 'riot' in Hawthorne


Published: Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 19, 2007 at 11:24 p.m.

What began as a disagreement between two juveniles escalated into a fight that police described as "a small-scale riot" involving 75 to 100 people in Hawthorne Thursday night.

Eight people were taken to jail, according to Sgt. Steve Maynard with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.

Maynard couldn't say for sure what started the fight, but he was told by one sergeant on scene that the disagreement began between a 13-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl after the girl borrowed the boy's bicycle and blamed the bike for ruining her shoelaces.

"But if you ask 10 people out there what caused it, they'll give you 10 different answers," Maynard said. "It was really over nothing."

Arrested were William Tyrese Watson, 23; Candi Jameka Preston, 18; Anthony Martez Thorton, 22; Angelues Thornton, 43; Sheila Michelle Ward, 29; and Douglas B. Webb, 39; all of Hawthorne. All six will be charged with affray, a misdemeanor.

The names of two juveniles who were charged with affray are being withheld, and the juveniles are also being charged with resisting arrest without violence.

Maynard said the disagreement started Wednesday with a small fight at Hawthorne Middle/High School, possibly over the loaned bicycle. When a similar fight happened Thursday, the students came home and told their parents and older siblings what happened and the families met on the front lawn of a home at 6931 SE 215th Terrace in the Pleasant Gardens neighborhood.

The fight began around 7 p.m., and as it escalated, neighbors and other residents gathered around the fight, with the crowd eventually growing to nearly 100 people. Maynard said not everyone was involved in the physical fighting, but many small fights broke out in the crowd.

A total of 12 deputies, a K-9 unit and the Sheriff's Office helicopter were called out to disperse the fight. Officers first tried to use pepper spray to stop the fighting, but when that didn't work, Tasers were used against several people. No one was seriously injured in the fighting, but some people armed themselves with rakes, mop handles and logs during the brawl.

Maynard said the Sheriff's Office increased patrols Friday night in an effort to stop any further fighting before it happened, and as of late Friday evening, all was quiet in the Pleasant Gardens neighborhood.

"We haven't had one peep out there," Maynard said. "I would attribute that to the fact that they are seeing a police car drive by about every 10 minutes."

Maynard said the increased patrols will remain in place until at least Sunday night, and a decision will be made from there whether the additional presence is still needed.

Alice Wallace can be reached at 374-5036 or alice.wallace@gvillesun.com

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