A local judge issued warrants on Friday for the arrest of two Port St. Joe men on charges of public affray stemming from an altercation at Franklin Square Park on 6th Street during seafood festival weekend in Apalachicola.
On the afternoon of November 2, 2014, Apalachicola Police Officer Chase Richards was dispatched to the Park in reference to a physical disturbance during Chunky Sunday; while enroute Richards was notified by fellow officer Lt. Pam Lewis that the subjects had left the scene and were traveling westward on U.S. Highway 98 towards Port St. Joe.
The Gulf County Sheriff Office was called ahead as Richards continued his pursuit westward. While in pursuit he was informed by Franklin County dispatch that a Gulf County deputy had conducted a traffic stop on vehicles matching the description of the ones that had fled the 6th Street Park.
Once at the traffic stop Richards made contact with the occupants of the vehicles, which included Ashton Larry, 27 and Justin Beard also 27 both from Port St. Joe; along with ten other men from Port St. Joe and Panama City.
A search of the vehicles by deputies from Gulf County yielded three handguns with one passenger Carlos M. Likely, Jr., being placed under arrest by Gulf County Sheriff Deputy Jerome Williams and charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
Back at the Park Richards began to question potential witnesses when he learned that the Port St. Joe men had arrived at the Park in four to five different vehicles and upon exiting their vehicles accosted an Apalachicola man in an aggressive manner. Richards also learned that as law enforcement officers from the city and county were approaching the Park with lights and sound the men stopped fighting and while hastily fleeing the scene struck a parked vehicle. A gun was also dropped in the Park, but unknown at this time by whom.
Apalachicola Police Chief Bobby Varnes believe the incident is connected to a fight that broke out involving a Port St. Joe man at 2:00 am Sunday November 2, outside of Q’s Corner Cocktail Lounge at 109 Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue. Shots were fired during the altercation, but no one was injured nor were any arrest made. Witnesses are being sought and are asked to contact the Apalachicola Police Department with any information that could lead to an arrest.
The investigation is ongoing and more warrants are expected to be issued for public affray, battery, gun possession and hit and run.