RICHMOND, Calif. — A funeral took a turn in California when a family fight escalated to the point where a man was arrested after allegedly hitting a person with his car and knocking over the casket.
The Richmond Police Department said in a news release that its officers were called to the Rolling Hills Memorial Park on Saturday afternoon for reports of a “chaotic altercation” between family members that had escalated.
Sgt. Aaron Pomeroy told SFGate that the argument between a brother and sister attending their mother’s funeral escalated when the sister’s boyfriend encouraged her to walk away from the argument.
“The brother started beating on the boyfriend, and that’s when it escalated and it became a brawl and we started to get calls,” Pomeroy told SFGate.
Police said the suspect got into his car and drove over grass and gravestones, breaking a water main, before hitting the victim with his car and knocking his mother’s casket over, KRON reported. The broken water main flooded a plot belonging to the funeral director’s grandmother.
Police told SFGate that a preliminary estimate from Rolling Hills Memorial Park indicated that the fight caused approximately $20,000 in damage.
“We sometimes get family disputes at the cemetery or at the church,” Lt. Matt Stonebraker, a spokesperson for the Richmond Police Department, told SFGate. “This was no different, but it was an especially large family fight and they said possibly armed. This one went above and beyond. Usually, you don’t get the injuries. In this case it looked like they had some really bad blood.”
Pomeroy told KNTV that one family member brought a stun gun to the service because of long-standing issues within the family.
The manager of Rollings Hills told KNTV that any damage to gravesites will be repaired and the cemetery will cover the cost.
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