TAMPA — Another person has been arrested in connection with the Rusty Pelican Restaurant wedding reception brawl Sunday night. Police say Sandra Felita Dean, 26, tried to choke the groom's 74-year-old grandmother during the melee.
The fight began when a friend of the groom's was throwing dollar bills to children on the dance floor, and another guest didn't like it, police said. That prompted a shoving match, which soon became a full-blown fight with 30 to 40 guests throwing punches in the parking lot.
One man was knocked down by a brick to the head, witnesses told police. An officer was punched as he tried to separate the guests.
Then the fight moved several miles away to the parking lot of the Residence Inn at 4312 Boy Scout Blvd.
The groom's grandmother, Mary Wright, tried to quell the violence, yelling at guests, "Ya'll need to stop that."
Soon after, a woman had her hands around Wright's neck. Police spokeswoman Janelle McGregor identified that woman as Dean.
Police said Dean came to the scene with Malcolm Anthony Hepburn, a 30-year-old convicted felon with a 20-page rap sheet and a stolen gun.
Someone at the fight called Hepburn, telling him the groom and his brother had hit Hepburn's cousin with a brick, police said.
Hepburn ended up punching the groom's father, 47-year-old Andrew Thompson.
Hepburn was arrested on charges of felony battery, carrying a concealed firearm, grand theft of a firearm, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was released after posting $13,500 bail.
Officers saw Dean trying to leave the scene in a blue Buick with an unrestrained infant in the back seat, according to an arrest report. When an officer began questioning her, she told him, "That's my cousin that got knocked out."
She didn't have her license, but the officer recognized her from traffic violations in West Tampa, according to the report.
He found that Dean's license was suspended for being a habitual traffic violator. Before he could arrest her, Dean got out and disappeared into the crowd, the report states.
Police put out a pickup notice for Dean, and she was found on Thursday. She was arrested on charges of battery on a person older than 65, driving with a revoked license and obstructing an officer without violence.
She was taken to a Hillsborough County jail and released on $4,500 bail. This is Dean's 12th arrest in Hillsborough County in 10 years.
Other previous charges included battery with a weapon, driving with a revoked license, felony battery, petty theft, grand theft, obstructing an officer with violence, buying marijuana and possession of cocaine, jail records show.