EXCLUSIVE: Victims of Red Lobster Mother's Day brawl call experience 'horrifying'

EXCLUSIVE: Victims of Red Lobster Mother's Day brawl call experience 'horrifying'

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The family and victims at the center of the Mother's Day brawl Sunday afternoon at Red Lobster on 13th Street in Columbus are speaking out about the horrifying ordeal on Monday.

The family, consisting of the mother, father, grandchildren, daughters and one of the daughter's boyfriend - the intended target - were leaving the restaurant when the fight began.

The family asked not to be identified.

"As soon as we walked out the door, they just started surrounding us and I said, 'there are kids out here please don't do that,' and they just started throwing blows," one family member said.

In the

, people can be heard screaming, a high chair can be seen in the air, and a bunch of guys beating the intended victim.

One of the victims said the brawl wasn't just a chance encounter.

"Somebody from Red Lobster called them to come up there and they were waiting for us to come out," one of the family members said.

The intended target was carrying a 14-month-old child in his arms when he was approached, but when the father, a retired soldier, tried to block the blows, he and his son were also attacked. The child was not hurt.

"It was chaos and then I saw my son and he was bleeding from the head and he's a mild young man and he doesn't bother anybody and you know he has a mental issue," a family member said.

Police arrested four suspects who all left the scene and were found hiding near the restaurant: Artrez Coppins, Corey Turner, Edward Merritt and Tommie Mullins.

All of the suspects, except for Merritt, bonded out of court. Merritt's case was continued until Tuesday to allow officers time to speak to the victims and witnesses.

The four suspects are facing misdemeanor charges including battery and reckless conduct.

The family said they are hoping the charges will be upgraded to a felony since the video shows the suspects beating the victim with a water pitcher.

Police say the suspects believe the intended target may have information on the unsolved murder of their family member, Robert "Moraell" Brooks. Brooks was


Three victims were treated and released for cuts and lacerations to their head and face after Sunday's melee.

In a statement from a Red Lobster spokeswoman from their headquarters in Orlando, FL, it reads:

The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority. What happened on Sunday was unacceptable and we do not tolerate that type of behavior in our restaurants.

As a proactive measure, we are hiring security at the restaurant to ensure the safety of our team and our guests. Since the time of the incident, we have been and will continue to cooperate with the police. Given this is an active investigation, I can't share more beyond that.

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