Arrests, injuries after wedding party brawls with fire department guests at East Wind

More than 40 guests at a pair of parties at the East Wind in Wading River were involved in a massive brawl that led to arrests and injuries, including those suffered by the groom at a wedding being held at the catering hall, Riverhead Town police said. 

The approximately 40 to 50 people involved in the brawl were attending either a Saturday evening wedding or an installation dinner being held by the Hagerman Fire Department, the fire district for East Patchogue. Police said most of the people involved in the midnight melee were intoxicated and it started in the lobby when they began pushing, cursing, and hitting one another.

Four men were arrested following the brawl, including a father and his two sons. The arrested were Andrew Dunham, 29, of East Patchogue was charged with third-degree assault, second-degree harassment and resisting arrest; Thomas Dunham, 55, of East Patchogue was charged with obstructing governmental administration and second-degree resisting arrest; Corey Citarella, 29, of East Patchogue was charged with third-degree assault; and Brendan Dunham, 21, of East Patchogue was charged with third-degree assault.

Thomas Dunham, who is the first assistant chief of the Hagerman Fire Department and a retired county DPW worker, walked into the courtroom with blood stains on his head. He and his son Andrew were ordered held on $500 cash bail, which they posted and were released.

The other two men were released on their own recognizance, but were told by Judge Lori Hulse that if the victims request an order of protection, that one would be issued and they would be warned to stay away from the victims.  About 15 supporters of the firefighters were present in court.

All four pleaded not guilty and are due back in court March 20. Attorney Steve Kiely, who was representing all four defendants on just the arraignments, waived a reading of the charges for all four men, each of whom plan to hire private attorneys for the duration of the case. None of the defendants has any criminal history, Mr. Kiely said.

Members of the two parties, including “people on both sides who were drunk,” bumped into one another in the foyer, which is where the fight began, Mr. Kiely said.

The groom of the wedding party sustained injuries to his face and upper body after being hit by three different people, police said.

Numerous law enforcement agencies, including the Riverhead Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Police and New York State Parks Police, responded to control the incident.