COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Columbia woman charged with four felonies after a fight at the Activity and Recreation Center on Sunday knocked a boy's teeth out by pistol-whipping him, police say.
Lakeisha R. Thomas, 37, was charged Monday with second-degree assault, third-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action. According to court documents, Thomas went to the ARC to pick up her daughter. When she arrived she saw boys fighting.
Thomas told police she tried to take a broom away from an ARC employee to fight off the boys but the employee would not let her take the broom, court documents say.
Thomas told police that she grabbed her gun from outside the building and went back inside the ARC where people were still continuing to fight and she hit someone with a gun, according to the probable cause statement.
Court documents say the victim had a large laceration above his left eye and a lot of blood coming from his mouth. An officer asked the victim to open his mouth but the victim could barely open his mouth. According to the officer, the victim was missing several front teeth.
The victim told the officer he remembered getting hit with three guns.
While the victim was walking to the ambulance, court documents say, he walked past Lakeisha Thomas and said she was the one that hit him with a gun.
Thomas showed the officer a teal 9 mm handgun in a glove box and in the same spot was a black airsoft gun that appeared to be a black Glock handgun, the statement says.
The teal gun had blood on the side, court documents say.
Aaron Rugen was at the ARC Sunday afternoon for his daughter's birthday party during the incident. He said he saw about 15 to 20 people fighting.
"My sister who was standing next to me with her three kids yelled she saw a gun so we grabbed our kids and immediately put them behind something solid," Rugen said.
Rugen said he tried to keep his two kids calm and safe as things escalated.
The officer also spoke to another victim who said Thomas hit her in the head with a gun and she had a lump on the left side of her head that was hard to the touch, police say.
Court documents say video footage from the ARC showed the fight and also showed Thomas walking into the ARC with the handgun and going outside and hitting someone.
Although Rugen and his family were able to get out of the building safely, he said he was unhappy with how the ARC staff handled the situation.
"No situational awareness from the staff there it seemed, and rushing all these people out of the pool directly to the front of the building where all this stuff was happening out the side doors into the middle of the conflict seems like a really bad thing to do," Rugen said.
He says he will no longer be going to the ARC and that he feels more needs to be done by the city to keep everyone safe during incidents like this.
Gabe Huffington, director for Columbia Parks and Recreation says someone is in the building and that security patrols the area during peak times.
However, staff will be looking at ways to handle the situations differently..
"Just in terms of facility safety, how we coordinate building in the building and how we visit different areas as well," Huffington said.
Columbia Parks and Recreation will be extending security officers' schedules due to the incident and staff will work to educate patrons about guns, where they can be and cannot be with the hopes they are not in the building at all.
A boy was also arrested for the incident and charged with assault, making a terroristic threat and a weapons charge. He's currently in the Boone County Juvenile Office.
Two others were also arrested and released with citations.
Thomas remains in the Boone County Jail without bond.