3:35 p.m. update
The fight that broke out early Monday morning at a Fort Myers gas station over a pack of cigarettes reportedly started at a teen night in a Cape Coral club.
According to sheriff spokesman Tony Schall, most of the crowd had traveled to the gas station from a teen night at an event hall behind the now-closed Bamboo Club off Southeast 47th Terrace.
La Venezia, in Club Square, was hosting a teen night that evening. The hall’s owner, Elizabeth Torres, said there had been no altercation that night amongst patrons as far as she knew.
“For whatever reason,” Schall said, “whatever began there kind of spilled over to the Racetrac.”
Connie Barron, spokeswoman for the Cape Coral Police Department, said one reason the teens may have decided to take the fight elsewhere is because there is a heavy police presence downtown whenever there is an event, such as a teen night.
“I know our officers do focus their attention in that area whenever there is an event such as that,” Barron said. “When they know about it, they certainly make sure they are there and available should something happen, whether it’s a teen gathering or an adult gathering. We have a very positive police presence in that location.”
Kelly Hall, mother to the arrested 16-year-old, defended her son, saying he did not know the others who were fighting and the gun found underneath his car seat was not his.
“I’m frustrated with this situation,” Hall said. “I don’t understand why he couldn’t come home for house arrest.”
She said her son had nothing to do with the altercation, which was among the five females arrested — ages 15 to 23 — and a 16-year-old female victim.
Sheriff spokesman John Sheehan said initial investigation reveals it was a stolen pack of cigarettes that started the conflict, though the case is still under investigation.
Pack of cigarettes ignites 200-person ruckus at Fort Myers gas station
A 200-person melee at a Fort Myers gas station early Monday morning started over a pack of cigarettes, according to Lee Sheriff’s deputy Erik Hurd.
Six people, including two teenagers, were arrested in connection with the incident, in which the large crowd gathered to watch as at least five females and one male were using sticks, pipes and other blunt objects to strike a vehicle in the Racetrac Gas Station parking lot on South Pointe Boulevard around 1 a.m. Monday.
The 16-year-old female victim told Hurd that she, her cousin and her cousin’s boyfriend pulled in next to a gas pump when several females walked over and began arguing. Sheriff spokesman John Sheehan said the altercation appeared to be over a pack of stolen cigarettes, but the details of that allegation are unclear, he said. The two others in the car tried to calm the situation, but were unsuccessful.
The victim tried to drive away, Hurd said, but was chased by the other females, who began beating the sides of the vehicle with various objects, causing several thousand dollars in damage.
Gloria Hood, 20, Cherrelle Jones, 22, Tamra Harris, 23, Whitley Rodriguez, 20 — all of Fort Myers — and a 15-year-old Cape Coral teen were all charged with aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony and criminal mischief by damaging property. A 16-year-old Lehigh Acres male, like the 15-year-old, is not being named by news-press.com due to age. The 16-year-old Lehigh Acres male was charged with carrying a concealed weapon after Hurd found a gun in his car.
It does not appear anyone was hurt.