Two adults charged in McDonald’s brawl

Two men involved in a 10-person brawl at the McDonald’s restaurant on County Road 42 in Apple Valley were charged in district court last week with felony assault.

The fight, which involved suspects ranging in age from 14 to 23, erupted the afternoon of Sept. 27, 2013, and saw two groups of people throwing punches, kicking and wrestling throughout the dining room and cash register area.

One teenager involved, a 17-year-old male, was transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul following the fisticuffs, where he was diagnosed with a broken nose, bleeding in his brain and other traumatic injuries.

Eric D. Hodo, 19, of Lakeville, and 24-year-old Mario T. Wills of Chicago were the only two adults involved, according to a criminal complaint, and each has been charged with felony third-degree assault.

The fight broke out around 2:20 p.m. Sept. 27 when one of the groups entered the restaurant and approached the table where the other group was seated, the complaint said.

Violent chaos quickly ensued, and the fight was captured on the restaurant’s video surveillance system.

Video footage shows the 17-year-old male who was subsequently hospitalized being thrown to the floor and surrounded by Wills and three teenagers, who repeatedly hit and kicked the prone boy. He is later seen in the video lying lifeless on the floor, apparently unconscious.

Police arrived on the scene at about 2:24 p.m. and “had a difficult time controlling the crowd,” the complaint said. A customer, who identified himself as a retired law enforcement officer, was stabilizing the injured 17-year-old’s head when police entered.

A total of 11 officers responded to the fight, and statements were taken from the fight’s participants, restaurant staff and customers.

Customers in the restaurant when the mayhem broke out were primarily retired persons, and one customer was wheelchair-bound, the complaint said.

The injured 17-year-old remained in hospital for two days, until Sept. 29. His injuries also included multiple bruises, a cut on his scalp, memory loss, hearing loss in his right ear, and weight loss, with the teen losing 27 pounds between Sept. 27 and early November of last year, prosecutors said.

If convicted, Hodo and Wills each face a maximum penalty of  five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Court proceedings for the others involved have not been publicly disclosed because the suspects were minors at the time of the fight.