Picture released of wedding brawl suspect (PHOTOS)
SOCIETY HILL - October 9, 2012 (WPVI) -- A North Jersey man is facing assault charges after a weekend wedding brawl at a hotel in Philadelphia's Society Hill section.
A relative of one of the grooms, Matthew Sofka, 26, of the 500 block of Edgar Road in Westfield, New Jersey has been charged with Assault, Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Riot. Police say he was charged for assaulting an officer.
Sofka was released from police custody on Monday.
Authorities said more charges are expected as this investigation continues.
Two other people were cited for disorderly conduct.
The charges come after a chaotic scene Saturday night at the Society Hill Sheraton. That's where two wedding parties got into a brawl.
57-year-old Vince Sannuti, the uncle of one of the brides, died of a heart attack after leaving the hotel during the brawl.
His niece, Nicole Sannuti, was seen leaving the Sheraton Hotel in tears following the incident, still wearing her wedding dress.
Pat Strange, a longtime friend of Vince says he was full of life and just a week before shared how excited he was for his niece's wedding day.
"It's just very sad, the way it happened. It was also his birthday," Strange said.
Witness video showed the scene around 1:30 a.m. Saturday as dozens of Philadelphia police officers worked to control the violent clash between the two parties in the hotel bar.
The fight involved members of the Sannuti - Sofka wedding party and another wedding party that were at the hotel bar.
Police say the fight fueled by alcohol and rising tempers took over the bar and lobby.
Hotel guest Max Schultz, who Action News spoke to from his home outside Harrisburg, recorded the chaos and posted it to YouTube.
"It was very crazy, obviously, but I felt kind of safe with the huge police presence there," Schultz said.
The department says officers were outnumbered so they whipped out their batons and started swinging at those who resisted.
In the video, an officer can be seen trying to hold back one of the brides while a man in a tux is being thrown to the floor.
"I just thought it was very sad because it's suppose to be a special occasion and for something like that to happen, I just felt bad for the families," hotel guest Chris Himes said.
Sheraton Society Hill told Action News to direct our questions to police and would only say, "Our sincerest condolences go out to the family for their loss."
The department says, after top police brass including Commissioner Charles Ramsey watched the video, they concluded that appropriate force was used to get things under control.
Schultz was in town with his parents celebrating his now very memorable 15th birthday.
"It's sad that this had to happen and I know what alcohol can do to people and it's a good example," Schultz said.
philadelphia, society hill, weddings, fight, local/state
- Suspect SUV in deadly hit and run caught on camera
- Slightly Cooler Sunday
- Get the 6abc StormTracker app
- WATCH: Action News Online
- Off-duty cop shoots man during fight
- Police: Deadly shooting at after-hours bar
- PSU trustee resigns, regrets Paterno vote
- Mom of Tasered teen arrested for shoplifting
- Jet crash: Oil slicks found; Passports stolen
- Woman trapped after crashing SUV in Darby Boro
- Pa. Trooper's pregnant wife killed by gun discharge
- Actress Sheila MacRae of 'Honeymooners' dies at 92
- 2 arrested, 1 sought after cop hit by car in Delco
- Photos: $3.25M summer home in Ocean City, NJ