NN Man Charged with Attempted Murder in Parking Lot Brawl

December 28th, 2009 by Kim Lenz

Williamsburg police have charged a 21-year-old Newport News man with attempted murder after a stabbing during a Dec. 11 brawl in the parking lot of America’s Best Inn on Richmond Road.

Joseph C. Zastrow was arrested Dec. 22 after police executed a search warrant at a home in the 400 block of Aspen Drive in the Denbigh area of Newport News, where Zastrow lives with his mother.

Williamsburg Police Investigator Michael Rice said police recovered numerous clothing items and a pair of knives, which have been sent for forensic testing.

Zastrow is alleged to have stabbed an 18-year-old James City County man, who suffered serious wounds but was expected to make a full recovery. He was also charged with aggravated malicious wounding, possession of a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct. He is being held without bond at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.

Rice said several witnesses provided information that led to Zastrow’s arrest. “We don’t believe he acted alone; we’re definitely looking for more people,” said Rice. Anyone who has information is asked to call Rice at 259-7207 or the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

Zastrow told police he had been hired as security for the party, Rice said.

More than 200 people, most from outside the Historic Triangle, were involved in a fight that began at what was supposed to have been a birthday party in a conference room at the hotel.

Rice said the fighting apparently started during the party when a rap song came on that made references to gangs. Rival signs were displayed by groups at the party, which quickly devolved into a fracas that spread into the parking lot. Cell phone text messages relayed the fight in progress, which drew more people into the melee.

One juvenile was arrested during the fight, and an officer kicked in the back as he was trying to protect the juvenile from being kicked in the head by the crowd. Police also heard shots fired at the rear of the hotel, and recovered a pair of intact shotgun shells from the parking lot.

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