Berwick police looking for more details in 10-14 person knife, taser fight

Posted May 29, 2012, at 5:42 a.m.

BERWICK, Maine — Police are still investigating a stabbing and taser incident leading to the arrest of two men and the injury of three others.

According to Sgt. Jeff Pilkington with Berwick Police, the department plans to conduct follow-up interviews to determine what led up to the fight and what exactly happened on the property located at 30 School St.

Pilkington said it appears the fight occurred between 10 and 14 people from two or three different apartment buildings on School Street. The properties sit off the roadway and are diagonally located from the intersection of Wilson and School streets. According to preliminary police interviews, it appears the fight began because a dog bit someone other than its owner.

As a result of the preliminary investigation on the scene of the fight, 29-year-old Richard Socoloski was arrested and charged with criminal use of electronic weapon (taser), a class D misdemeanor, disorderly conduct (fighting) and violation of conditional release.

Both of the later charges are class E misdemeanors.

When police arrived on scene, the fight was dispersed but three injured persons were discovered — all three were transported to Wentworth Douglas Hospital. According to Pilkington, one individual complained of injuries from a knife, but the actual extent of the injuries appear to have been caused by a taser. In terms of the second injured person, it is unclear as to whether he was stabbed or attacked by taser.

The third individual transported, according to Pilkington, suffered injuries consistent with being punched. No one was transported with a dog bite related injury.

Pilkington said one of the injured victims was released from the hospital, but didn’t have verified information on the other two victims. He said the extent of their injuries would indicate a short hospital visit.

According to Pilkington, another man was arrested in another area of town after the fight occurred. Pilkington said after police questioned 29-year-old Jeremy Hatcher, he left the apartment building and got into a knife altercation with two other individuals not involved in the School Street fight. Hatcher allegedly stabbed one of the individuals, causing minor lacerations. The victim was not transported.

However, Hatcher was charged with aggravated assault, a class B felony.

When confronted by police, Hatcher refused to follow commands and as a result, police used a taser on him.

According to Pilkington, many of those involved in the altercation were intoxicated at the time. Pilkington said once “everything calms down” police are unsure how cooperative those involved in the incident or those who witnessed the incident will be with providing information to the police. Pilkington said more arrests regarding the incident are expected, most likely with disorderly conduct charges.

The South Berwick and North Berwick Police Departments also responded to the fight.

© 2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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