Smyrna High staff helped ID suspect in basketball brawl


MILFORD — Assisted by school personnel, police said an 18-year-old Smyrna man was identified in a melee that prematurely ended last week’s high school boys’ basketball game between Smyrna and Cape Henlopen at Milford High.

In an arrest affidavit, an investigating Milford Police officer said he reviewed gymnasium video footage with Smryna High staff “to identify a student involved in the altercation.

“Smyrna’s staff was able to identify the black male in the red shirt as Tahraan Hughes.”

Mr. Hughes turned himself in to law enforcement on Monday and was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct connected to the game on Feb. 28 that decided the Henlopen Conference Northern Division title. Smyrna led Cape Henlopen 61-34 when the rest of the game was canceled.

Two other misdemeanor arrests were made, including Cape Henlopen standout Randy Rickards Jr., 18, of Milton, and a 17-year-old New Castle male not identified due to police policy. Both were charged with disorderly conduct and Mr. Rickards also received a third-degree assault count to which he pleaded not guilty.

“A fight broke out between several students in the area of the Cape Henlopen boys basketball team’s bench,” police wrote in court documents.

Tahraan Hughes

Police said the fight was broken up and the gymnasium cleared. The time of offense was listed as 8:03 p.m. in the affidavit.

Investigation continued, and police learned “there was a black male in a red shirt that … had to be removed from the altercation twice.” That person was identified as Mr. Hughes the next day, papers indicated.

According to authorities an officer watching video “observed Hughes engaging the Cape Henlopen team in a verbal altercation. He places his feet in the area where the team was sitting and would not move it so they could sit.

“(Redacted) then walks towards him and they exchange words. (Redacted) then throws a punch at Hughes. Hughes then engages (redacted) and attempts to hit several other Cape Henlopen players in the area.

“The footage shows people in the immediate area running away. (An officer) observed several people running away with their children as Hughes attempted to fight the Cape Henlopen player.”

Randy Rickards Jr.

Police said Mr. Hughes was presented through Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and released on $500 unsecured bail. He was banned from attending any high school basketball games in Delaware and given a no contact order with Milford School District property. A future appearance in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas in Dover was scheduled.

Charges defined

Third-degree assault in Delaware Code is defined as present when:

1, The person intentionally or recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or

2, With criminal negligence the person causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.

Disorderly conduct occurs when:

1, The person intentionally causes public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to any other person, or creates a risk thereof by:

a, Engaging in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior; or

b, Making an unreasonable noise or an offensively coarse utterance, gesture or display, or addressing abusive language to any person present; or

c, Disturbing any lawful assembly or meeting of persons without lawful authority; or

d, Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic; or

e, Congregating with other persons in a public place and refusing to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse; or

f, Creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition which serves no legitimate purpose; or

g, Congregating with other persons in a public place while wearing masks, hoods or other garments rendering their faces unrecognizable, for the purpose of and in a manner likely to imminently subject any person to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States of America.

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