SALEM — Two Vermonters unwilling to leave their knives outside the gates of Canobie Lake Park are accused of starting a riot that left two police officers injured and landed three members of one family in jail.
Other members of the Perry family from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont joined the melee Monday afternoon and a total of five of them face charges.
It started when the family was going through security screening at the amusement park’s gate about 1:30 p.m.
Park security officers noticed knife sheaths on the belts of some Perry family members and told them the weapons would have to be left in their vehicle or they couldn’t enter the park, according to police reports.
”This particular guest had one of those particular items and leaving it behind didn’t seem to be an option,” park spokesman Chris Nicoli said yesterday. “When he was confronted, things escalated and the guest became combative.”
Two Salem police officers were on detail duty at the park at the time and they responded to the front gate, where park security officers were trying to control the situation.
Things quickly got out of hand, according to police Deputy Chief Shawn Patten.
”It’s an extremely safe family park. This situation was an aberration,” Patten said. “This family was simply hell bent on causing a problem.”
One Perry family member began screaming obscenities, audible to the hundreds of other guests at the park, including many children, Patten said.
The man, 23-year-old Joshua Perry of Sutton, was warned repeatedly, Patten said, then told he was under arrest.
That sparked more belligerence and physical violence, according to court documents.
Police Lt. Michael Kelly and Officer Michael Massahos, the two detail officers, grabbed Perry’s arms and forced them behind his back in an effort to handcuff him, court documents state.