Three men and a woman were booked into the Oconee County Jail this week on charges of affray and criminal damage to property in connection with the early morning brawl at IHOP on Oct. 14.
According to witness accounts and surveillance video footage, one group of customers began to insult another group, who were wearing cowboy hats. The argument then escalated into pushing, hitting, and the throwing of furniture.
The first deputy on the scene just happened to pull into the restaurant's parking lot around 3 a.m. and see the fight in progress, Chief Deputy Lee Weems explained. The deputy called for backup and tried to get the situation under control, but several people fled the scene, Weems said.
Authorities were able to identify four suspects based upon evidence, but they were released to seek medical treatment. Arrest warrants were later obtained and the individuals turned themselves into the jail between Tuesday and Thursday.
"The charges that were made were based upon physical evidence, those pointed out by witnesses, and what could be seen on the video when it was reviewed in the restaurant," Weems wrote in an email to Patch. "Not all of the incident could be seen on the video. Numerous witnesses refused to cooperate."
Charged were Torrance Adonis Howard, 39, of Athens; Kimberly L. Elliott, 24, of Winder; Samuel Neil Willis, 33, of Philomath; and Valdis Antonio Starks, 26, of Winder.
Additionally, the Oconee County Sheriff's Office reports, 19-year-old Shakeira Monique Ferguson of Winder was arrested on outstanding warrants out of Barrow County when she accompanied Elliot to the Oconee County Jail. She was turned over to the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office, according to a news release.