Thursday, July 30, 2015

Felony charges added for man in wedding brawl

A New Jersey man cited for disorderly conduct for his role in the massive melee that erupted when two wedding parties began brawling Oct. 7 in the Society Hill Sheraton is now charged with with several felonies, after investigators determined he assaulted a police officer, police said Tuesday.

Felony charges added for man in wedding brawl

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A New Jersey man originally cited for disorderly conduct for his role in the massive melee that erupted when two wedding parties began brawling Oct. 7 in the Society Hill Sheraton is now charged with several felonies, after investigators determined he assaulted a police officer, police said Tuesday.

Brian Lanza, 29, of Westfield, N.J., is charged with assault on police, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, criminal conspiracy and related offenses in the incident that was caught on tape and went viral. Lanza turned himself in to Central Detectives Monday, police said. The District Attorney's Office will withdraw the disorderly conduct charge, police said.

Police already have charged Matthew Sofka, 26, also of Westfield, with assault on police, inciting a riot and related offenses. Another man in his late 20s, whose name wasn't released, was given a summary citation for disorderly conduct.

A man reported to be the uncle of the bride died of a heart attack following the fight. It's unclear if he was involved in any of the altercations. Hotel guests estimated that between 50 and 100 cops showed up to control 50 to 100 party goers from two separate weddings who were fighting each other and amongst themselves for unknown reasons. Police and hotel guests said the fights appeared to be fueled by alcohol.

Max Schultz, 15, of Camp Hill, captured part of the melee on a video he posted to YouTube. Several versions of the video has since been posted there, garnering more than a million views. In the video, a police officer can be seen hitting Sofka three times with his baton. Sofka was then Tasered off camera, police said.

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Philly Confidential, which covers crime in Philadelphia and the suburbs, is written by Daily News staffers Dana DiFilippo, Stephanie Farr and Vinny Vella.

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