Son Knocks Over Mom's Casket at Funeral After 'Chaotic' Family Brawl

A man in California was arrested last weekend after a family argument at a funeral turned ugly, resulting in a mass brawl that saw the suspect allegedly hit someone with his car and knock over the casket containing the deceased.

Police were called to the Rolling Hills cemetery in Richmond around 1:30 p.m. on August 6 after reports of a "chaotic altercation" involving a large family, according to a release from the Richmond Police Department.

Police said that as a result of this initial incident, the suspect got into his vehicle and drove it over the cemetery's grass and gravestones before hitting another unnamed individual and the casket.

The suspect was taken into custody by the police and booked on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism.

Lieutenant Matt Stonebraker of the Richmond Police Department told SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle website, that grass was damaged by the car. Several headstones and vases were also damaged, and a water main was broken close to the funeral plot where the family met, causing flooding in the area.

"We sometimes get family disputes at the cemetery or at the church," he said. "This was no different, but it was an especially large family fight and they said possibly armed. This one went above and beyond. Usually, you don't get the injuries. In this case, it looked like they had some really bad blood."

A funeral casket.
A brawl broke out among family members during a funeral (not pictured) for an elderly woman in Richmond, California, on August 6. dallasgolden/Getty

Although the car knocked over the casket, Stonebraker said the body did not fall out. According to another police source, Sergeant Aaron Pomeroy, the initial furor was ignited by a brother and sister attending their mother's funeral. Pomeroy told SFGate there had been an ongoing feud between them that "goes back many years."

Pomeroy also said the siblings had been talking when the sister's boyfriend intervened and asked her to walk away from the situation. "The brother started beating on the boyfriend, and that's when it escalated and it became a brawl and we started to get calls," the sergeant said.

After the physical fight, "one of the family members tried to run over his sister with the vehicle" but missed and hit another relative and the water main, Pomeroy told San Francisco Bay Area station KNTV.

He said there was clearly friction between those in attendance, adding, "A family member brought a stun gun to the services because of long-standing family issues."

The injuries suffered by the unnamed relative hit by the car, who is reportedly 33 years old, were described by Pomeroy as "non-life-threatening," according to SFGate.

The car's driver also suffered some minor injuries after reportedly being struck in the head by a family member carrying a cane.

"They used the cane to try to get him under control," Pomeroy told SFGate. "The suspect was hit a couple times. The cane came from someone who was at the funeral. I don't know that they ever identified where the cane came from."

Although one attendee was carrying a stun gun, no shots were fired and no guns were found. The charges against the suspect, described only as a 36-year-old male from Bay Point, are being reviewed by the Contra Costa County district attorney's office

Police estimated that the incident led to around $20,000 in damage to the property, according to SFGate.

Kamilah Thompson, the manager of Rolling Hills, called the occurrence a "bizarre incident" and not something that regularly occurs at the cemetery. "Do not worry at all. Your loved ones interned here are very safe, and our staff is here to assist any of the families," Thompson told KNTV.

She also said that all damages would be covered by the cemetery.

Newsweek contacted the Richmond Police Department for further comment.