An altercation in a Kent Burger King parking lot Saturday allegedly spun out of control into a series of destructive and illegal acts, leading to the arrest of five Kent State University students, who now face charges of aggravated riot and burglary.
Kent Police Capt. Paul Canfield said members of the group allegedly began their criminal activity by "striking, kicking and rocking" a vehicle in the East Main Street Burger King parking lot after a verbal dispute with the passengers, before walking to a nearby house on University Drive and stealing multiple items.
The five men facing charges of burglary, a second-degree felony, and aggravated riot, a fifth-degree felony, following the incident are:
Kwan L. Bailey, 21, of 609 S. Lincoln St. in Kent.
David D. Coleman, 21, of 609 S. Lincoln St. in Kent.
Dontell E. Higgins, 20, of 609 S. Lincoln St. in Kent.
SeVaughn L. Knight, 19, of 225 Midway Drive in Kent.
Austin S. Wilson, 19, of 1509 Westdale Road in South Euclid.
Two other men, who have not been identified, were also with the group that night.
Canfield said Kent police are seeking information on the identity of those individuals, who may face charges stemming from the incident.
Canfield said the men allegedly damaged a temporary license plate from a car on University Drive after the confrontation at the Burger King lot, then entered a home in the 100 block of the street and gained access to a separate apartment room by force.
"They damaged at least one door inside and they took some electronics and other items," he said.
While the actions of the accused may not match traditional definitions of the term riot, Canfield said their acts do warrant aggravated riot charges under state law.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, the participation of five or more people "in a course of disorderly conduct" with purpose to commit or facilitate a felony or an act of violence can result in an aggravated riot charge.
"It's a bizarre set of circumstances to be sure," Canfield said. "Most people would not work in a group like that and draw that much attention to themselves."
Anyone with information about the unidentified suspects who were with the group Saturday can contact the Kent Police Department at 330-673-7732.
Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126