RIVERDALE -- Police here are looking for one more guy from the early morning party that turned into a brawl involving up to 30 people. Seven have been arrested so far.
"The party was his going-away party," Riverdale Police Lt. Jim Ebert said of Stephen Jeff Vogel, 26.
"For his going away to jail, for half the people there. The other half were partying because he was going on the run."
It's on the run, as it turns out, as Vogel did not show for his sentencing on drug charges scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in 2nd District Court, where police were waiting for him, some six hours after the brawl had drawn police to the parking lot of the Super Target. The fight had spilled over from the party at the adjacent Riverdale Mobile Home Estates at 5100 S. 1050 West.
Judge Mark DeCaria on Monday issued a no-bail bench warrant for Vogel's arrest. Vogel last month pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree felony possession of oxycodone, and a misdemeanor marijuana possession count. Court records show no prior criminal record.
Evidence against Vogel from the brawl includes video from the Target security cameras, Ebert said.
Vogel is suspected of assault in the melee, possibly with a baseball bat. The fighting resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to four people, including one stabbed and another taking a head injury from a blunt object. Police recovered a host of weapons from the scene, including baseball bats, several knives, a cane, crutches and a hammer.
The fight started at a late-night party at the mobile home community when two people began arguing over a debt, which Ebert said was a minimal amount. "Between $15 and $50."
Many of the 30 estimated brawlers fled as police arrived.
Lt. Scott Brenkman said police were able to detain 15 to 20 individuals at the scene and later arrested six adult males and one juvenile. Brenkman said two other adult males will likely be arrested, pending their release from a local hospital.
Arrested in the fight were: Christopher Linn, 21; Levi Michael Stites, 21; Jacob Robert Johnson, 21; Nathan Blaine Christiansen, 21; Cameron Howard Sherwood, 21; and Austin James Clark, 20. They were booked into jail on suspicion of felony assault.
Ebert said it's more than likely Vogel will also be charged with felony assault.
"But we want to get his side of what happened," Ebert said. "Maybe he felt he was fighting for his life."
The whole mess among a group of people who were otherwise friends started as a dispute between two people over the small debt, he said.
"Then they talked to their friends, and it kind of grows from there," Ebert said. "They egg each other on and pretty soon things get out of hand. This is what happens with a mob mentality."