Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

TOP STORY >> Sheriff probes brawl at Pickthorne

By JOAN McCOY
Leader staff writer

Lonoke County sheriff’s deputies are looking for teenagers who were involved in a fight Sunday night at Lake Pickthorne.

The fight left about a dozen Jacksonville teenagers injured when a fist fight with Cabot teenagers at Lake Pickthorne turned more violent after the Cabot teens left and returned armed with bricks, metal bars and at least one knife.

Lt. Jim Kulesa of the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies were called after the fight was over and the Jacksonville teens had gathered at a friend’s house where they realized that some of their injuries required medical treatment.

He and other deputies interviewed a group of about 30 parents and teens in the parking lot at North Metro Medical Center in Jacksonville.

One boy who said he was struck in the face with an iron bar while trying to help a friend to his feet was hospitalized. A girl who said she was struck by a pickup in the parking lot was not hospitalized.

The injuries for the whole group included broken bones.

Kulesa said investigators think the fight had been brewing since Friday and may have started with text messages.

The Cabot teens were white and the Jacksonville teens were both black and white, he said. But although some racial slurs were reportedly used, the incident did not appear to be racially motivated.

The Jacksonville teens said they believed the fight was over when the Cabot teens left, Kulesa said, but then they came back with reinforcement and weapons.

The teens’ story was corroborated by spots of blood in the parking lot at the lake, as well as broken glass and weapons, he said. A knife, pieces of bricks and metal bars were found at the scene. Two vehicles were heavily damaged.

Kulesa said some of the suspects have been identified and arrests will be made when the investigation is completed.

“I have directed a full investigation into this incident,” Sheriff Jim Roberson said. “We have identified some of the suspects involved in this incident and will proceed until everyone involved is identified. This type of violence and behavior cannot and will not be tolerated in Lonoke County.”

Cpl. Dennis Sanderson and De-puty Brandon McKiever also helped with the investigation.