SAFETY HARBOR — A 39-year-old mother was arrested after encouraging her daughters to fight with other children, then jumping into the fray herself, authorities say.
Corinna D. Armstrong of the 1100 block of Seventh Street N was charged with two counts each of child neglect and child abuse.
Armstrong was summoned to Daisy Douglas Park on Tuesday evening by one of her daughters, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.
When Armstrong arrived, she asked her daughters who they were going to fight, then instructed them to "take off their earrings and get ready for the fight," an arrest report shows.
One daughter is 15. The other's age is unknown, a Sheriff's Office spokesman said.
A deputy arrived at the park about 7 p.m. after someone called 911 and hung up, spokesman Sgt. Tom Nestor said.
The deputy saw about 30 children gathered. When a 15-year-old girl pushed another girl, "they started exchanging blows," Nestor said.
Other fights then began to break out in the crowd.
As the deputy was taking the 15-year-old into custody on a misdemeanor battery charge, he saw Armstrong holding a 13-year-old girl down. She was pulling the girl's hair, according to the arrest report.
Armstrong had to be pulled off of the girl by the deputy, who then called for help to quell the melee.
It was unclear if the 15-year-old who was arrested was one of Armstrong's daughters. The Sheriff's Office does not release the identity of juveniles arrested on misdemeanor charges.
Armstrong told the arresting deputy that she was trying to protect her daughters, who have been involved in an ongoing dispute with other children from the neighborhood.
Wednesday, Armstrong was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail. She does not have a criminal record in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.