Police in Philadelphia are investigating a wild scene at a hotel where a brawl broke out between two wedding parties that ended with injuries, arrests and one man's death from a heart attack. NBC's Katy Tur reports.
A New Jersey man who wound up being Tased by police has been identified as one of the main troublemakers in a brawl between two wedding parties at a Philadelphia hotel, authorities said.
Philadelphia police say they booked 26-year-old Matthew Sofka of Westfield, N.J., on charges including assault on police, inciting a riot and reckless endangerment.
Sofka was a guest at a family member’s wedding at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel when a brawl broke out with another wedding party about 1:30 am. Sunday. Police called in extra patrols to quell the 75- to 100-person rumble. Police say most of the fighters were drunk.
During the brawl, police used a Taser to subdue Sofka, a relative of the groom.
The uncle of one of the brides, Vincent Sannuti, 57, suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead at Jefferson University Hospital, NBCPhiladelphia.com reported. Sannuti, who was also celebrating his birthday, was not involved in the melee, according to police.
Portions of the chaotic brawl were caught on cellphone camera by Max Schultz, a 15-year-old guest at the hotel who was not part of the wedding parties.
"I was up on the second floor watching. It was bedlam, out of hand," said Schultz, who posted the video to YouTube. “They just started punching each other and hitting each other and the people just came in and started clubbing people.”
Philadelphia Police Sgt. Sean Dandridge was hit in the head during the melee and received treatment for concussion-like symptoms. He is expected to recover.
Dandridge’s apparent Facebook page, which says he’s a Philadelphia cop, had this message posted Monday morning: “Getting checked out at hospital. No serious neurological injury. Awaiting more tests. Mom called: "Now it's on The Good Day Show." My head started hurting again.... Doc said "Take it easy..."
In the video, a police officer is seen striking Sofka three times with a baton. Police say he was then subdued with a Taser -- an act not caught on camera. Schultz is heard on the video saying, “Did they just deck the bride? They just decked the bride.”
Police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers told The Philadelphia Inquirer it was actually not the bride, but rather a bridesmaid who had been hit.
Aside from Sofka, two other people were cited for disorderly conduct for their alleged roles in the brawl.
Police say there could be more arrests.
The hotel released a statement in response to the fight.
"We continue to cooperate with the authorities and as this is an ongoing police investigation any questions should be directed to the local police department. Our sincerest condolences go out to the family for their loss."
NBCPhiladelphia.com's Jackie Galley, Dan Stamm and Danielle Johnson and NBC News' Sevil Omer contributed to this report.
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