No arrests were made after the 3 a.m. mayhem because the four primary suspects went to an Athens hospital for medical treatment, according to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office report.
Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said Monday that the deputy who initially responded to the fight is sorting through the facts before obtaining warrants. Those involved in the fight had addresses in Philomath, Monroe, Winder and Athens, and included one person from Mississippi.
The fight began when a group of people wearing cowboy hats came into the restaurant after attending a Western-themed party. They were insulted by another group of people in the restaurant, and one person in the cowboy group confronted those making the insults, which resulted in a person punching a woman with the cowboy group.
Two other people began fighting, and they were joined by others who began “pushing, hitting, throwing furniture and other items,” according to the Oconee deputy’s report.
The fight resulted in damaged carpet, broken chairs, a broken dining table, the shattering of numerous pieces of glassware and the loss of $300 worth of food items that had been served, according to the report.
Kevin Stevens, general manager of the Epps Bridge IHOP, estimated the total damage on Monday at about $1,100. Stevens said he couldn’t comment on the fight itself as he was not at the restaurant.
“I really don’t know what the situation was; I’ve let the police officers take care of it,” he said.
A deputy on patrol happened to be pulling into the restaurant parking lot when the manager came running toward him and shouting that people were destroying the restaurant, according to the report. As he radioed for assistance, he noted in his report, “employees, customers, complainants, victims, witnesses and suspects came running outside into the parking lot toward me.”
Several suspects approached the deputy in a threatening manner and shouted profanities and racial slurs at him, prompting him to pull his gun, but he didn’t aim it at anyone, according to the report. When one suspect continued to come toward him, the deputy said he pulled out his Taser gun and pointed it toward the suspect.
More Oconee County deputies arrived, along with Georgia State Patrol troopers and Athens-Clarke police officers, and order was restored. An ambulance also arrived to assist the injured.
The deputy said he watched the store’s security camera, then he secured the driver’s licenses and identifications for four suspects, whom he expects to charge.