Laurens Police patrolling the East Main area at 11:05 Saturday night reported observing hundreds of vehicles parked at the Exchange Club building at the old Fairgrounds. The lot was full and vehicles were also using neighboring parking lots. Police summoned a Fire Marshall who informed the person conducting the event that the building was filled beyond its 560 people capacity. Security for the event was informed that they could admit no more people until some had left. A crowd of some 300 people waiting outside the building became hostile. The Sheriff’s Office, Highway Patrol and Clinton Public Safety were called to assist Laurens Police with the large crowd estimated at 1,500 people.
At 1:23 Sunday morning Sgt. Michael Gainey and Officer Logan Kanipe went to the nearby Hickory Point to assist in getting that parking lot cleared. On arrival they found Sheriff’s Sgt. Carter checking the pulse of a 21-year-old Laurens man who was lying in the parking lot, bleeding from his mouth. EMS was called to assist with the unconscious man. Officers were later advised that the man had been transferred from Laurens County Memorial to Greenville Memorial with the victim unstable, with bleeding on the brain. Sgt. Carter had reportedly observed a suspect exit a Dodge Charger and walk toward the gas pumps. The victim had reportedly walked toward the suspect, who allegedly struck him two or three times about the head and face, causing the victim to fall and strike his head on the pavement. The suspect was taken into custody, Laurens Police then booked 24-year-old Vito Jervorria Gaskins, also known as “V,” of 121 East Bluford Street, Clinton. He was charged with 1st Degree Assault and Battery. During arraignment yesterday, a cash or surety bond of $100,000 was set. Vito Gaskins remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.
At 45 minutes after midnight Sunday morning, during the crowd control situation at the Exchange Building, Officers Kanipe and Simmons observed two men fighting. Both were arrested on Disorderly Conduct charges. Both had been sprayed with mace at one point in the fight and a taser was also used by officers. Of the two, one man was allegedly found to have a medicine bottle containing three crack cocaine rocks weighing .85 gram. 23-year-old Roydrecilous Quantes “Mo” Irby of 4265 Neely Ferry Road, Laurens was also charged with Possession of Crack Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. Other unidentified men had also reportedly been involved in that fight, which was just one of the fights officers indicate occurred during the event at the Exchange building.
The Sheriff’s Office also reportedly made three arrests during the incident.