MANATEE -- A Marine and his wife were attacked outside a movie theater Christmas night after asking a group of teens to be quiet during a movie, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports.
The attack escalated into an affray attracting approximately 300 bystanders.
As a result, four teens and an adult were placed under arrest, according to reports.
Federico Freire, 27, who is on leave from Afghanistan, went to the movies at the Carmike Royal Palm 20, 5125 26th St. E., to see “Little Fockers” with his wife, Kayln.
Freire said a group of about 20 teens were being obnoxious and loud during the movie.
When they were asked to be quiet, some of teens began swearing. Kayln Freire went to find a manager and the youths were asked to leave.
The couple left shortly after.
“We were just so aggravated. We thought, ‘Forget this, we’re out of here,’ ” Federico Freire told the Herald.
Theater management asked more of the teens to leave and when they refused, deputies were called.
As the couple exited the theater just before 10 p.m., Kayln Freire was surrounded by about 15 girls who appeared like they were going to attack her, Federico Freire said.
A witness told Freire that he had a firearm in his vehicle and offered to escort the couple to safety.
Federico Freire said he told his wife to go with the witness to get her out of harm’s way.
Seven males then surrounded Federico Freire and began to kick and punch him, according to the sheriff’s office report; he was struck across the left side of his face.
“I got back up to defend myself and they started running everywhere,” he said.
A crowd of about 100 people began to form.
When Freire looked to his wife, he said he saw a young male with his shirt off punch her in the face, knocking her out.
Freire said he went after the youth and the witness brandished his gun, telling the crowd to step back.
Deputies arrived shortly thereafter.
As deputies were investigating, the manager of the theater asked anyone without a ticket to leave.
When a deputy asked 16-year-old Ishmael Dunbar to leave several times, the teenager refused and struck the deputy, according to the sheriff’s office.
At one point, Destiny McNeil, 20, a relative of Dunbar, attempted to intervene in the arrest and was arrested herself, the release said.
She was charged with resisting arrest without violence and was released from Manatee County jail Sunday on a $750 bond.
Reginald Gardner, 17, also hit the same deputy in the arm and resisted arrest after he was asked to leave the area. Gardner was stunned in the chest with a Taser by a deputy.
Both Gardner and Dunbar were charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.
The names of 15-year-old twin brothers who were charged with misdemeanor battery for striking the couple were not released. Details of misdemeanor arrests for juveniles are not public record under Florida law.
Near the end of the incident, there were about 300 people milling around, according to authorities.
All available deputies were asked to come to the theater to help restore order, the release said. The manager then shut down the location.
A manager at the theater said thousands of dollars in refunds were given to patrons.
Normally, one to two off-duty law enforcement officers from state agencies are hired to work security on weekends. On Christmas night, no one was available, according to theater management.
No one was seriously injured.
“I’m fine. My wife’s face is all swollen up. She’s got cuts in the inside of her mouth. I was able to defend myself pretty good because of my training, but I was more worried about her,” Freire said.
A couple of videos were posted by the couple on YouTube showing police presence after the incident.
Freire, who is based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., leaves this week. He said after this incident, he has spent the remainder of his time at home with family.
“I’ve lived in this town. I know how trashy it can be,” he said, reflecting on the incident.
He is considering filing a lawsuit against the theater for not providing adequate security, as well as against the teens involved.