Cullman police say they’re closing in on suspects who beat a young man at Rock the South festival
The Associated Press
CULLMAN (AP) — Police in Alabama said Monday they’re closing in on suspects who beat a young man at a music festival, sending him to the hospital with severe injuries.
Reid Watts was injured by several men during a Saturday night assault at the Rock the South country music festival in Cullman.
One witness, Katie Faye Hudgins, told WVUA-TV that a group of people standing near her and Watts accused them of spilling drinks.
Hudgins, who said she is Watts’ girlfriend, said some of those people eventually attacked Watts.
“They came up behind him and struck him and just started beating him until he was unconscious, and stomping his head in with their boots,” Hudgins told the television station. “I was just screaming, I was screaming for people to help. And I looked up and I didn’t see anybody, and I was laying there screaming bloody murder for people to come help me.”
Kaci Howard, Watts’ mother, appealed on Facebook for help finding the assailants, saying her son suffered “a fractured nose, concussion, stitches, knots the size of softballs on the back of his head.”
“He never even saw it coming. They jumped on him out of nowhere because one of them said he spilled a drink on him,” Howard said. “Reid didn’t even have a drink in his hand.”
Cullman Police Chief David Nassetta told The Cullman Times on Monday that investigators are narrowing down their investigation and are only seeking eyewitness accounts or video of the beating. Video shared separately on Facebook shows multiple people beating the victim as he lay defenseless on the ground.
“From what is shown on the video, we have had an outpouring of people who have either said that they know who the suspects are or think that they do, and we’re currently in the process of combing through all of that,” Nasetta told the newspaper.
“We now have a pretty good idea of who we think did it, and will release more information once the investigation has proceeded further,” he said.
Nasetta said police operated a 911 call center at the site to rapidly dispatch officers. He said seven people were arrested Thursday, eight on Friday and 10 on Saturday, for offenses including disorderly conduct and public intoxication. About 35,000 people attended each day.
Rock the South organizers are offering a $10,000 reward and lifetime tickets to the event for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the assault.