Three adult men have been arrested for the brutal assault of a teenager at a country music festival in Alabama.
Cullman police announced on Wednesday that William Joseph Vinson Jr., 20; Zachary Scott Taylor, 21; and Chance Marcus Alan Starling, 20, were arrested Tuesday night following the assault of 18-year-old Reid Watts at the Rock the South music festival over the weekend.
Video from the event showed a group of men throwing the teenager to the ground and repeatedly punching him — allegedly because Watts spilled a drink on one of them.
Watts was left with a broken and had to be rushed to a local hospital in the aftermath.
The three men are now facing second-degree assault charges, which comes with a maximum sentence of 10 years behind bars.
Zachary Scott Taylor, 21, was one of three men arrested Tuesday night in the assault of 18-year-old Reid Watts at the Rock the South music festival over the weekend
William Joseph Vinson Jr. and Chance Marcus Alan Starling, both 20, were also arrested in the assault. All three are now facing second-degree assault charges
Watts was left with a broken and had to be rushed to a local hospital in the aftermath
At a news conference on Wednesday, Cullman Police Chief David Nassetta said officers were able to apprehend the suspects thanks to tips from the public.
‘The victim did not know them, and the witnesses we had didn’t know them, so it was really an important part of the puzzle for people to look at the video and say, “Yeah I know these guys,”‘ the police chief said.
When asked about a possible motive for the brutal bating, Nassetta declined to go into details, but said it was ‘absolutely meaningless.
‘Our investigation showed that it was a pretty frivolous, meaningless thing,’ he said.
‘Nothing can really justify something like that, but in this particular incident, it was something that normally should not rise to this level of violence,’ Nassetta continued.
‘I think it kind of speaks a little bit to the character of the individuals that we arrested.’
Rock the South co-owner and producer Nathan Ball also thanked police, festival goers and social media users who helped identify the suspects.
‘Like you, we were absolutely disgusted and appalled at the cowardly actions of a few individuals at our festival last weekend,’ he said at the news conference.
‘I want to emphasize wholeheartedly that this behavior is neither widespread nor common at any of our events.’
Video from the event showed a group of men throwing the teenager to the ground and repeatedly punching him
Following the news, Watts’ mother, Kaci Howard, took to Facebook to call her son’s alleged attackers ‘cowards.’
‘Imagine being as big as these three cowards and attacking a kid who weighs 124lbs from behind, attacking anyone from behind for that matter,’ she wrote, sharing the suspects’ mugshots.
Vinson, Starling and Taylor’s cases will be presented to a Cullman County grand jury at a later date.
The suspects are currently out on bond.
Watts has previously said the entire altercation began Saturday night when a man at the music festival accused him of spilling a drink on him.
The teenager said he attempted to clear up any confusion, since he did not have a drink on him. The pair reportedly shook hands, but just moments later as his friends left to use the restroom, the teen was attacked from behind.
He told his local ABC station: ‘Some dude said I was spilling beer on him or something along those things, and then I talked to him because I didn’t have a drink on me at the time, like I didn’t have anything, I talked to him and shook his hand because I thought everything was okay because I explained to him it wasn’t me.’
‘Then a few minutes later, I was walking back and got hit in the back of the head, then I hit the ground and tried to cover my face then I got knocked out and that was really all I remember,’ he added.
The young man’s girlfriend, Katie Hudgins, called the incident traumatizing.
‘It was horrible, I’m traumatized, I felt so helpless because I couldn’t get in there and get to him and I had to sit there and watch him get beat up while he’s unconscious, it’s horrible,’ she said.
The brawl didn’t end until festival security got involved, found the teen and rushed him out of the venue.
The teen was given a guitar from Kenny Strickland of the band Trotline following the attack
The young man’s girlfriend, Katie Hudgins, called the incident traumatizing
Howard also said: ‘They continued beating him while he was on the ground until security finally got to them and got Reid and Katie out of there and to an ambulance.’
She shared a picture of her son being supported by a neck brace after he was rushed to the hospital, with an extremely swollen and red face,
‘He has a fractured nose, concussion, stitches, knots the size of softballs on the back of his head. He never even saw it coming,’ she wrote on Facebook
The teen has since been released from the hospital and is now recovering from his injuries at home.
He said that he’s doing alright and the whole thing ‘could’ve been a lot worse.’