Monday, March 30, 2015
10 charged in stabbings, melee outside Bristol Township bar
Posted: Monday, March 23, 2015
A 20-year-old Bristol Township man is accused of nearly stabbing to death a 21-year-old Falls firefighter, and nine other men — between 21 and 25 years old — face charges of causing a riot and other felonies in connection with a huge fight outside a Bristol Township bar in August.
A Bucks County grand jury heard the case at the request of Bristol Township police. The grand jury determined that robbery, along with multiple stabbings and assaults, occurred during two separate melees in the early morning of Aug. 16 outside the Stadium Bar and Grill in the 4100 block of Woerner Avenue.
Four men were injured in the melee including a bystander who was struck by a vehicle driven by two men who were attacked and attempting to get away from an out-of-control mob, police said. The two are not facing criminal charges, acting Chief Ralph Johnson said.
Eight of the alleged attackers were arrested and arraigned Monday before District Judge Joanne Kline. At least one of the two remaining suspects is expected to surrender Tuesday, police said.
The individuals arrested Monday are: Carlos Baltazar, 26, of Bristol Township; Philip Budion, 24, of Bristol Township; William Johnathon Ellershaw, 24, of Bristol Township; Michael Gonzalez, 22, of Bristol; Shaquille Legette, 21, of Bristol; Samuel Padilla Jr., 25, of Bristol Township; Brandyn Smith, 25, of Bristol; and Onorio Vila Velez, 20 of Bristol Township. Their bail ranged from 10 percent of $500,000 for Baltazar and Velez to 10 percent of $50,000 for Smith. All defendants, except Smith, were sent to Bucks County prison in lieu of bail.
Bristol Township police have also issued arrest warrants for Steven Emery Evens Jr., 21, and Anthony Verderame, 21, both of Bristol Township.
All the defendants face charges of aggravated and simple assault, riot, conspiracy, reckless endangerment, and disorderly conduct. Baltazar, Budion, Evens, Ellershaw, Smith, Velez and Verderame also face multiple robbery charges.
Velez is the only one charged with criminal attempted homicide for allegedly stabbing Steven Basalyga, 21, a Falls volunteer firefighter, in the chest after a confrontation in the bar parking lot.
On Monday, Acting Bristol Township Police Chief Ralph Johnson said he didn’t know exactly what sparked the attacks, which occurred within minutes of each other. Johnson also did not know — and court documents do not say — if the alleged attackers and victims knew each other.
Witnesses said that Padilla left the bar with Gonzalez around 1:50 a.m. and walked toward Velez outside the bar, police records show. Padilla walked up behind Basalyga, who was also a bar customer, and punched him in the back of the head, causing Basalyga to lurch forward, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Basalyga was then punched in the nose by Gonzalez and stabbed in the chest by Velez, police said. Afterward, the three men left together, leaving Basalyga with a large, life-threatening stab wound, the affidavit said.
Basalyga was taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown, where he was treated for a stab wound that damaged his right atrium and right ventricular arteries, resulting in loss of blood pressure and heartbeat, court documents allege. He also had a broken nose.
The initial stabbing was followed by a second larger fight that involved an attack on three other bar customers, which required Bristol Township police to call in other local police departments for riot control, according to court documents.
In the second incident, two men and a woman left the bar shortly before closing when one of them — Nicolas Sylvia — was confronted by several men and Sylvia shoved one of the men, police said. Sylvia was immediately confronted by a second man, shoved him and was punched twice in the face by an unknown man, police said.
Sylvia and his companions, Kelan Caccavella and Jordyn Miller, continued walking to their cars, which were parked in the nearby Acme parking lot, police said. As Sylvia and Caccavella started to pull out of their parking space, a large group of people came running toward their car and Miller’s, the affidavit said.
Miller got out of her car and tried to calm the crowd, police said. Sylvia also got out of the other car and started yelling at Miller to get back inside her car, police said.
As Sylvia tried to get back inside his car he was allegedly attacked by eight to 10 men — including Evens, Velez, Verderame, Legette, Budion, Ellershaw, Baltazar and Smith, police said. The men allegedly started punching and kicking Sylvia in his head and body. During the attack, Sylvia crawled into the passenger seat with Caccavella’s help, the affidavit said.
The crowd in the parking lot, which had grown even larger, then climbed on top of Caccavella’s car and started smashing the front windshield, police said.
Caccavella’s door was opened and he was punched and hit with unknown objects repeatedly on his head and body by Evens, Budion and Legette and others, police said. Caccavella’s wallet was also stolen during the assault, police added.
Caccavella finally was able to drive the car through the crowd. But in his escape attempt, he hit a bystander in the Acme parking lot, police said. The person hit was treated for injuries at a hospital and released, police said.
Caccavella, who was bleeding heavily — from what turned out to be five stab wounds to his arm and shoulder — pulled over into a parking lot in the 6900 block of New Falls Road and called 911, police said. Both he and Sylvia, who had bruises, cuts and facial swelling, were taken to St. Mary Medical Center for treatment of their injuries.