Juveniles Fight, Arrested at Lake County Catholic Summer Festival; double security

CONCORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) – Before sunset at St. Gabriel Catholic Church’s summer festival Saturday, there were no safety issues or violence. But as night fell, several fights broke out, leading to the arrest of four minors, one of whom was illegally carrying a firearm.

St. Gabriel Church leaders chose to close the festival early due to the incident.

“We had a lot of underage kids who were just being kids, arguing and getting a little out of control,” festival co-chair Rory Laugh said. “The crowds became tighter, denser, the fighting continued. The sheriffs moved quickly and executed magnificently to eliminate them.

Incidents of violence appear to be becoming a trend, after violence broke out at the St. Clare Festival in Lyndhurst on June 1. Ten teens were arrested on charges ranging from carrying a concealed weapon to resisting arrest to violating curfew.

photo WJW

Father Fred Pausche is the pastor of St. Gabriel Church, who said each year the festival is a safe, family-friendly environment. This is why he is very discouraged by the violence, but proud of the reaction of his community.

“To be honest with you, we went from very angry, to very sad, to very, very proud of our people, our team or our leaders,” Pausche said.

No one was injured at the festival other than the minors involved in the fights and a deputy who was slightly injured while participating in the incident.

“They weren’t members of the parish,” Lough said. “They came from an outside community. We don’t know the area, but they weren’t locals, our parishioners. For something like this to happen and taint this is very disappointing. However, instead of canceling our festival today, we overcame it, united and stronger than ever.

To ensure the safety of guests on the final day of the festival, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department said they doubled the number of deputies at the festival.

“There are so many good people in the community and in this parish that deserve to have a good time and come here and have fun,” said Sergeant John Kelley.

Kelley said there is a zero-tolerance policy toward violence at festivals and as we move forward into the summer, the LCSO plans to increase its presence to deter more acts of violence. He advises those who plan to cause trouble to think differently.

“If you commit a criminal act, you will be held accountable here in Lake County,” Kelley said.

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