VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach police have announced the arrest of two local Sailors, who were involved in a brawl with off-duty police officers over the weekend.
Michael Paul Hayden, 42, and Nikolai James Liverus Howe, 28, have both been charged with simple assault. Howe was also charged with public intoxication and Hayden with disturbing the peace, according to a Virginia Beach Police Department press release.
The charges are related to a fight that took place early Saturday morning outside Eagles’ Nest Rockin’ Country Bar in the 600 block of Nevan Road. Howe and Hayden, who are both Virginia Beach residents, were arrested at the scene. They have been released from custody on bond.
While the Navy has declined to make any comment on the incident, a source tells WAVY.com the Sailors are based at NAS Oceana. The source said a group from Oceana rented a party bus in celebration of two people moving on from their squadron, and went to the bar. That’s where they came in contact with the off-duty officers, and an altercation followed.
The VBPD has acknowledged an ongoing investigation into what happened. Details of the altercation, however, have not been released.
“The Virginia Beach Police Department is aware of the incident … involving two of our off-duty officers. The department has withheld commenting prematurely, as investigations are still being conducted into the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident,” said Public Affairs Officer James Cason with the VBPD.
Cason said the two police officers who were involved in the altercation remain in full-duty status with the department.
Eagles’ Nest Manager Mark Fiore said the officers were not to blame, but admitted the situation got out of hand. He left the following message on WAVY’s Facebook page, speaking about the off-duty officers:
They also never sought out any altercation. Unfortunately, when people consume alcohol in groups often there are members of that group that are insecure and immature and bring attention to themselves by trying to intimidate others. They chose the wrong men to try and intimidate.
WAVY.com spoke with Hayden’s attorney, Mykell Messman, who also indicated the circumstances of the fight have not been completely pieced together.
“My client Michael Hayden was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery on an individual, and that individual is A. Torres,” Messman said. “This is a criminal investigation and we are continuing to investigate all the surrounding facts.”
Investigators are asking any witnesses of the brawl who have not already spoken to police to call the Executive Aide to the Chief of Police at 757-385-4514.