ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - Two New Jersey men are facing assault charges on Maryland's Eastern Shore after getting into a violent confrontation at a girls’ softball tournament. And it was all caught on camera.
In the viral video, the two dads trade insults, then punches, reportedly over their daughters' softball team.
The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office says the incident happened around six o'clock Tuesday night outside the kick-off of the 2015 USSSA Eastern World Series. The tournament is now underway in Salisbury and Ocean City, Maryland featuring hundreds of youth softball teams from across the country.
In response to the incident, USSSA tournament director Bill Dowell said, "We're aware that an incident took place outside the civic center where the opening ceremonies were being held that had nothing to do with the event whatsoever."
Eighteen-year old Karon Washington recorded the bloody fight on his cell phone. The video is graphic and contains offensive language. The full video can be seen here.
“I guess it was over a softball game or somebody's daughter was kicked out of a softball game,” Washington said. “They should have kept it away from the kids, you know what I mean? I would have never done nothing like that in front of the kids. It was nothing but 10 or 12-year olds there.”
Sheriff's deputies arrested and charged 48-year-old Michael Barbella and 45-year-old Michael Duffy with second degree assault and disorderly conduct.
Investigators believe the conflict between the two men started weeks ago. Lt. Tim Robinson with the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office said, “This was something that was festering. It was a problem brewing for a couple weeks.”
Robinson added, “There was evidence of text messaging going back and forth between the two that insinuated [Barbella] was challenging [Duffy] to a fight.”
Investigators believe Barbella's daughter was kicked off a travel softball team and he drove all the way from New Jersey to Maryland to confront Duffy and other parents about it.
After deputies arrived on scene, the sheriff's office said Barbella was uncooperative, claiming his injuries were not from a physical altercation despite several witnesses and video evidence. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was stitched up.
Both men have been released from jail: Barbella on a $5,000 bond, Duffy on his own recognizance.
They are both scheduled to appear in court on August 31st in Salisbury.