By Jim Melwert, Steve Beck, Elizabeth Hur and Jericka Duncan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A North Jersey man is facing charges for his alleged part in a post-wedding brawl at a Philadelphia hotel over the weekend, two others were arrested and an uncle of a bride suffered a fatal heart attack following the melee.
Police confirm 26-year-old Matthew Sofka, of Westfield, New Jersey, has been charged with Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Riot for his alleged role in the brawl. Sources say he’s the brother of one of the grooms.
Police said at least two separate wedding parties got into a fight that began inside the Sheraton in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia early Sunday morning.
One group of guests fought with another group, who had just returned to the hotel after an off-site reception. It spilled out into the street and police were called in around 1:30 a.m.
Eyewitnesses say the fight began in the lobby. It then escalated to the point where the cops requested what’s called a 3rd assist, which is an all-hands-on-deck call. The melee was caught on tape and posted to YouTube.
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In the video, Philadelphia police used tasers and batons to get the crowd of about 75 people under control.
“The only thing they could do was control it once it started,” said David Schultz, who was staying at the Sheraton that night and witnessed part of the brawl.
Fifteen-year-old Max Schultz, of Harrisburg, awoke to the noise from the lobby. He witnessed the brawl that broke out and captured some of the fighting on his iPhone. Later, Schultz posted the video on YouTube.
Authorities say one man besides Sofka will most likely face charges of assaulting an officer, while another is charged with disorderly conduct.
Police and family members say the man who suffered a heart attack was 57-year-old Vincent Sannuti, who was reportedly not involved in the fight. He later died at Jefferson University Hospital at about 2:50 a.m. Sunday. Sannuti, an uncle of one of the brides, was not involved in the brawl or melee with police.
It is unclear what prompted the initial fight.
According to police, Commissioner Charles Ramsey has watched the video and will consult the district attorney to determine if additional charges are warranted.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Sheraton said they are cooperating with authorities and offered their condolences to the family for their loss.