AUGUSTA, Ga. — Nine people are behind bars and charged with murder after a massive street fight caught on video. Police say they are investigating what sparked the brawl in a small town near Augusta that left a teenager dead.
Police say 18-year-old Demajhay Bell was accidentally stabbed in the neck by his friend, 21-year-old Demetreius Lamont Harris, Jr. Police say Bell was not involved in the fight, but the video shows him running away with a hand covering his neck wound. Bell died from his injuries two days later on Sunday at a local hospital
The disturbing video shows the brutal street fight quickly escalate out of control on Friday, March 18 in Hephzibah, Georgia.
Witnesses say the fight was between 30 to 50 people — some with baseball bats and knives. They also say the fight escalated further when a dark sedan jumped the curb and almost hit people standing in the yard.
The Spark That Started the Blaze
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree says investigators suspect the huge fight was sparked by an argument from a few days earlier between two girls at Glen Hills High School. He says they were arguing “over a boy and some racy photos”.
School officials say they stopped the fight between the two girls on campus, but the dispute festered in social media posts and text messages. Sheriff Roundtree says friends and relatives of each girl joined in and soon there were two groups threatening to settle the dispute in the streets.
“The brawl itself was a coordinated effort,” Roundtree says. “The group in the neighborhood knew the other group was coming to fight.”
Sheriff Round Tree says he wants to make it clear that this kind of violence will not be tolerated in the community.
“If any good is going to come from this case it’s that we’re going to show you that every person, who was involved in this type of foolish behavior are going to be charged with the most severe crime that we can possibly charge them with,” he says.
Police have arrested nine people involved in the fight and charged them with aggravated assault and felony murder. Authorities say they are still looking for a tenth suspect — Eddie Doneal Carter, the Third.
The nine who have been arrested are still in jail after arraignment Friday morning. Georgia state law ensures all nine, including the young people who are still in high school, will serve a life-sentence in prison if they are convicted.