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Feuding families in Alabama spark small-town riot

Feuding families in Alabama spark small-town riot

Years of quarreling between two families erupted into a small-town riot in which 150 screaming people hurled rocks and tools at each other and struck the police chief with a crowbar.
Five men named either Moore or Sawyer and several minors were arrested on assault charges after Monday's violence, District Attorney Michael Jackson said. In all, at least eight people were arrested. Authorities said a 2- or 3-year-old dispute between the two families prompted a melee that eventually swelled out of control to include friends and gang members.
"I saw a lady with a baseball bat," said law office employee Debi Foster, who witnessed the scene from behind closed doors. "There's still a broken mop in the driveway."
Officials said the disagreement between the families apparently originated with school children, but they didn't know the details.
"They came with guns, sticks, bricks, golf clubs. It was a bad situation," said police chief Tony Bufford.
Jackson said some of the people who took part in the melee sported tattoos with tear drops, which tend to indicate membership in a gang.
"Part of it actually could have been some gang activity," Jackson said. "Part of it was families that didn't get along with each other. It's big families with a lot of friends."
State police and officers from other west Alabama towns were called to keep the peace in Marion, a city of 3,300 about 85 miles (137 kilometers) west of Montgomery. Bufford was hit in the head with a crowbar but was fine.
The violence began Sunday night when a fight fueled by the families' bad blood erupted after a basketball game, and at least one shot was fired.
"They shot my truck up with my 1-year-old baby inside," said Littenger Moore, 30.
Problems continued at a high school the next morning, and a fight there resulted in two arrests. After the fight at the school, relatives of those arrested followed officers to police headquarters, where a crowd gathered.
Witnesses said the families and their supporters each lined opposite sides of the street.
"There was a lot of loud talk and one person would go up to the other side and then run back and then they started throwing stuff back and forth," said attorney Jeff Nail, who with Foster watched the scene unfold from an office building across the street from City Hall.
The end result: six more arrests and four people injured. Jackson said one person who was hit might need surgery for a fractured eye socket.
Bond was set at $250,000 for a suspect charged with having a gun at the high school, and he and others remained in custody, Jackson said.
"Some of these people need to pack their suitcases because they're going to be in jail for awhile," Jackson said. "There was no excuse for this."


Updated : 2021-05-17 20:54 GMT+08:00