Fight involving 150 people breaks out at American Legion

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011

FRANKLIN—An early Saturday morning brawl involving an estimated 150 people at American Legion Post 73 in Franklin may mean the end of renting the Armory Drive facility for parties.

“It’s not going to be rented unless I have a legitimate party,” said Beverly Myers, a member of the Legion’s Ladies Auxiliary, which collects the $300 rental fee. “I hate to do it, but if you cannot follow the rules . . .”

Franklin Police Lt. Tim Whitt said police were called to the Legion after midnight for a fight.

“It was one of these alleged so-called birthday parties that always end in violence,” Whitt said. “Alcohol was involved as well as out-of-town people. We had information a gang from Suffolk came over and initiated some stuff. Someone brandished a gun and everyone ran outside.”

The five officers who responded dispersed the crowd, which moved on to Burger King, Huddle House and the south side of town, Whitt said. There were reports of shots fired, but no one was hurt and no arrests were made.

“We had nobody who wanted to cooperate, and when you have a crowd of this size, you have to spend time breaking it up,” he said.

The Legion and Cobbtown Recreation Center are working with police in hopes that each will no longer rent their halls for parties.

“I give them both due credit,” Whitt said. “They have worked diligently with us to have peaceful events.”

Myers said she rented the Legion on Friday night to a woman for a birthday party. The woman told her there would be no alcohol.

Myers noted someone may have brought in the alcohol.

She was told that someone advertised the party on Facebook.

“When you put it on Facebook, they come from everywhere,” Myers said. “A lot of times you have people come from out of town and then you have the locals act up.”