A scuffle near the second floor elevators at The Marketplace on Thursday evening, May 3, ended in the arrest of two St. Thomas residents, age 21 and 23.
Noah Mathewson and Tommy Fahmie were arrested at 8:10 p.m. and charged with disorderly conduct, disturbance of the peace and simple assault, according to the St. John police blotter, an unofficial record of calls to the police. Bail was not listed.
St. John resident and business owner John Grammer was readying office space on the second floor for his wife, Debbie Grammer, who owns St. John Cabinets and Interiors, when the trouble began.
Teenagers Instigated Scuffle
“I was working downstairs on the outside of the new showroom, when all of a sudden I heard this menacing conversation going on,” said Grammer. “I turned around and looked, and it’s this punk (Mathewson) who thinks he’s a gangbanger from St. Thomas threatening a friend of my daughter’s. I know him, he’s a good kid, and this guy’s shoving him, telling him he’s going to beat him and take his chain.”
The teenager who was being threatened wears a coin on a chain around his neck, Grammer explained.
“He’s saying he’ll take it because he needs to pay rent,” said Grammer. “I looked over a few times just to make sure nothing’s getting out of hand. The kid who was being threatened was just ignoring the guy.”
Grammer finally decided to intervene. He told Mathewson to step away and stop causing problems, Grammer explained.
“He was drunk, so he started getting belligerent,” he said. “I felt at one point he was reaching for a gun or a knife, because he started acting very animated and vocal. I felt there was imminent danger, so I went to separate them.”
Mathewson made a sudden movement, prompting Grammer to tackle him, he explained.
“I just grabbed him before he could reach for anything,” said Grammer. “He fell over a chair and hit the ground, and I held him down.”
Mathewson then yelled for Fahmie, who emerged from the second floor restroom.
Fahmie violently confronted Grammer, he explained.
“He starts getting in my face and shoving me,” said Grammer. “I told him not to touch me repeatedly, and kept pushing his hands away. I think he was just trying to distract me, because then he sucker punched me.”
Police Viewed Videotape
Grammer subsequently grabbed Fahmie and threw him to the ground, he added.
Grammer then went into the second floor restroom to clean up his nose, which was bleeding profusely, he explained.
“I came back out and the cops were there,” said Grammer. “They asked me what happened and asked the other kids what happened, and then we went upstairs to the Marketplace office and watched the videotape.”
Because V.I. Police Department officers did not witness the event, they could not arrest Mathewson and Fahmie, so they offered Grammer help making a citizens arrest.
No weapons were found on either of the men, Grammer explained.
Grammer was present at Mathewson and Fahmie’s advice of rights hearing before Judge Leon Kendall on Friday morning, May 4.
Although Kendall has been criticized for being too lenient with violent offenders, the judge was stern with the St. Thomas residents, Grammer explained.
Broken Nose, Neck Injury
“He was very stern about what he said,” said Grammer. “He told them, if you perjure yourself, I will put you in jail.”
The defendants’ bail was reduced to $500, which both Mathewson and Fahmie posted, according to Grammer.
Both will be arraigned on May 10, explained Grammer, whose nose was broken and neck was injured in the attack.
Grammer did not seek medical treatment for his injuries.
Marketplace management did not comment on the incident.
The incident was reported at 8 p.m. on the St. John police blotter as a fight at The Marketplace.