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Hospital scuffle leads to 2 arrests

By MELIA BOWIE

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 31, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Two people were arrested, one of them a hospital technician, after a melee at Bayfront Medical Center early Tuesday.

Police said the disturbance began after family members arrived to check on shooting victims Phillip Jackson, 29, and Stanley Mitchell, 26, who were in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the upper body.

The men had been sitting in a Nissan at 2101 Queensboro Ave. S when shots were fired at them from a dark colored, four-door Cadillac about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, said George Kajtsa, St. Petersburg police spokesman.

At the hospital, "a large number of family and friends came (and) apparently they became disruptive," he said. Two of the women began yelling obscenities "because hospital staff refused to let them go into the treatment area where the victims were."

When police arrived, one of the women -- 47-year-old Lizzie Mells -- continued to cause a disturbance and proceeded to bite, kick and punch an officer who approached her.

Mells was arrested and charged with multiple counts of battery on a law enforcement officer as well as disorderly conduct and resisting arrest with violence.

But the commotion continued.

"During the scuffle to get her handcuffs on, (Mells) sustained some minor scrapes and bruises so they (police) took her to the ER to have her looked at," Kajtsa said.

When hospital staff requested her handcuffs be removed, she again became disruptive as officers were trying to subdue her on a gurney.

As they struggled, a 13-year-old girl began hitting one officer on the back with a plastic container. Gale Jones, a 31-year-old hospital technician, was arrested on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and obstruction when he tried to intervene and push his way past an officer to get to Mells.

Jackson was listed in fair condition Tuesday night, while Mitchell remained in critical condition. Their addresses were unavailable Tuesday. Police said they have no suspects in the shootings.

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