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Six arrested after brawl breaks out in Long Island courthouse

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
updated 3:23 PM EDT, Sat September 21, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Brawl ensued during murder arraignment of 20-year-old suspect
  • Six people arrested charged with riot in first degree and contempt of court
  • Six defendants from the fight will be arraigned Saturday

(CNN) -- A heated brawl broke out Friday during a murder arraignment in a Long Island courtroom.

It resulted in six arrests and was caught on video revealing a mosh of individuals -- including police -- screaming, yelling and aggressively pushing each other in a courthouse hallway.

The fight ensued shortly after the arraignment of Pedro Merchant, a 20-year-old who is accused of shooting 17-year-old Dante Quinones to death last week, according to Inspector Kenneth Lack of Nassau County Police. Families and friends of both men were present at the arraignment in Hempstead First District Court when the fight broke out.

"Unfortunately as the crowd started growing and yelling it just fed into itself," Lack said. "They became very irate and would not cooperate with instructions from the judge and court officers."

The six people arrested were charged with riot in the first degree and contempt of court.

What started the fight is still being determined. Investigators will be looking at all of the video surveillance to determine who was involved, Lack said.

Those involved in the fight were escorted into the hall and then out of the building.

Eleven court officers were injured, none seriously. One was transported to a hospital with knee pain. Two of the six defendants were sent to the hospital complaining of assorted pain. Their injuries were not serious.

The six defendants will be arraigned Saturday.

Merchant is charged with murder and pleaded not guilty Friday, according to Shams Tarek, a Nassau County District Attorney's Office communications officer. Tarek added that Merchant is due back in court on Tuesday.

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