Seven young men and one adult have been arraigned in First District Court this week for their alleged involvement in a brawl at Wenonah Elementary School that sent two people to the hospital. Most of the defendants are due back in court on September 12, with the exception of Matthew Cunningham, 18, and Richard Fish, 17, who are due to appear tomorrow.
The six remaining defendants include Sean McClarnon, 19, James Ippolito, 18, Chaleek Williams 18, Bonardigh Faustin, 20, Jesse Schwenker, 18 and his father Thomas Schwenker, 50. All are being charged with riot in the first degree. Some are being additionally charged with assault or robbery.
Daniel O'Brien, the defense attorney for Richard Fish, told Patch that he believes his client will be exhonerated when all the dust settles.
"Mr. Fish certainly looks forward to going to court," O'Brien said. "He's not guilty. People have fights and the victims usually run to the cops. If it amounted to whatever it’s been said it’s amounted to then we’ll deal with it, but I don’t think so."
O'Brien added that he personally knows Fish and that he doesn't want to see him sent to jail for the incident.
"He's seventeen; he's a kid," O'Brien said. "He's a good kid, he has no prior record and he's going to school."
According to court records, James Ippolito represented himself at arraignment pro se. Calls to the other six attorneys involved in the case were not returned, however Thomas Schwenker addressed his involvement in the case twice on his public Facebook page.
"Just so everyone knows the incident that had occurred did not involve me what so ever,I only showed up there after the fact to break it up. When i went there shortly after detectives showed up and because I was there, I was taken with the detectives."
He later added:
"Just to let everyone know. i did not do anything but try to stop it it bleww up so fast I could not even think they forgot to mention that one of the kids from centerreach had a big taser with him not that that makes it good gang stuff needs to stop people just get killed beatup for nothing again I did not raise a hand to no one and news 12 thank you for your good job."
An email to Schwenker requesting further comment was not returned. The arrests stem from an incident last Friday when those arrested were involved in a large fight with another group on the playground at Wenonah.
Patch will have more on this story as it develops.