It was just past 2 a.m. Friday morning when a Flagler Beach police officer was flagged down and told of a “large disturbance” on North 2nd Street. When an officer arrived there, a man in a black shirt was lying on the ground in the middle of the intersection with North Central Avenue. He was surrounded by a crowd of 10 or 12 people yelling at him. A red Nissan Altima, its passenger-side window smashed out, the shards on the pavement, was stopped in the middle of North 2nd, facing the ocean.
According to witnesses and victims of the incident, whose accounts were summarized in police reports, several people were leaving Poor Walt’s, the Flagler Beach bar at North 2nd Street and Central when Steven Hoffman-Brown, 24, and Jacob Visconti, 30, their faces masked with bandanas, approached the people aggressively and started yelling: “We’re going to fuck you up.”
The people yelled back, telling the two men to leave them alone. Some got in the Nissan to drive off. “As they were turning on North 2nd Street,” the reports state, “one of the males smashed out the rear passenger window with a crow bar.” Brittany Vitale, 25, a resident of Palm Coast, was at the wheel. She stopped the car and got out, upset that the window had just been smashed out. It was her sister’s car. “It was at that moment that she was struck in the face and throat,” the report states.
Four men, one of whom had been in the car, including 25-year-old Nicholas Lomelino of Flagler Beach, ran to Vitale’s defense. Witnesses saw Hoffman-Brown strike Lomelino, the report states. The Hoffman-Brown yelled that he had a gun “and reached into his pocket as if he were to pull it out.” Several people rushed him, struck him and pulled him to the ground, the report states. Visconti meanwhile “began hitting people with the crow bar, striking victims Samuel Puckett”–a 36-year-old resident of Palm Coast–“twice and Sean Bertram in the arm.” Bertram is 27-year-old resident of Palm Coast. The victims and witnesses told police that they’d rushed Visconti, too, wrestled the crowbar from him and thrown it into the bushes, where cops later found it.
Visconti then allegedly ran to his black truck and began charging people with it, knocking Lomelino on the ground and injuring him. Lomelino, police said, had lacerations on his knees, arms and elbows. Katie George, 26, of Flagler Beach, told police that she, too, was struck by the truck and knocked into the bushes. One other victim, Samantha Lutz, 25, of Flagler Beach, told police that Visconti rushed her, too, with his truck, but missed as he drove the truck erratically, before leaving the scene, and Hoff-man Brown. Witnesses recorded the truck’s tag number.
Visconti, of 152 Point Pleasant Drive in Palm Coast, was stopped by a Flagler County sheriff’s deputy at 2:16 as he drove west on State Road 100. Deputies escorted him back to the scene where witnesses and victims identified him and his vehicle as being involved in the incident.
“When I approached Visconti,” the Flagler Beach police officer’s report states, “I observed several cuts and swelling of his left eye. I observed and photographed blood on the exterior driver’s side of his vehicle.” Visconti initially declined medical attention, then asked for it when his shoulder and the cuts surrounding his eye were hurting. He was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler, treated, then booked into the Flagler County jail, along with Hoffman-Brown. The latter is a resident of European Village in Palm Coast.
Both men’s injuries sustained in the brawl were clearly visible in their jail mug shots.
Visconti faces one count of aggravated assault, five counts of aggravated battery, two counts of battery, a count of criminal mischief, and one count of wearing a mask while committing a felony. He posted $11,000 bond and was released.
Hoffman-Brown faces three counts of aggravated battery, two counts of simple battery, a count of criminal mischief and a count of wearing a mask while committing a felony. He posted $7,000 bond and was released. He’d been booked into the Flagler County jail six times previously, going back to October 2007. Charges have included shoplifting, driving on a suspended license, violating probation, marijuana possession (under 20 grams), and domestic violence battery on two separate occasions, the last time on May 3.