An Alabama teenager was beaten unconscious and had his nose broken at a country music festival when a group of adult men attacked him after he was accused of spilling a drink on one of them.
Reid Watts, 18, was at the Rock the South music festival with his girlfriend and a group of friends on Saturday night when a fellow audience member accused him of spilling a drink on him.
Watts said he attempted to clear up any confusion, since he did not have a drink on him. The pair reportedly shook hands, but just moments later as his friends left to use the restroom, the teen was attacked from behind.
He told his local ABC station: ‘Some dude said I was spilling beer on him or something along those things, and then I talked to him because I didn’t have a drink on me at the time, like I didn’t have anything, I talked to him and shook his hand because I thought everything was okay because I explained to him it wasn’t me.’
Reid Watts, 18, was pummeled by a group of strangers at an Alabama music festival over the weekend
‘Then a few minutes later, I was walking back and got hit in the back of the head, then I hit the ground and tried to cover my face then I got knocked out and that was really all I remember,’ he added.
The young man’s girlfriend, Katie Hudgins, called the incident traumatizing.
‘It was horrible, I’m traumatized, I felt so helpless because I couldn’t get in there and get to him and I had to sit there and watch him get beat up while he’s unconscious, it’s horrible,’ she said.
The brawl didn’t end until festival security got involved, found the teen and rushed him out of the venue.
Watts’ mother, Kaci Howard, has asked for help finding her son’s attackers.
‘Please help me find the cowards who did this to my son tonight at Rock the South. There were several grown men (30s-40s) who jumped on him and beat him unconscious while his girlfriend stood there screaming and crying for help,’ she wrote in a Facebook post.
‘They continued beating him while he was on the ground until security finally got to them and got Reid and Katie out of there and to an ambulance.’
She shared a picture of her son being supported by a neck brace after he was rushed to the hospital, with an extremely swollen and red face,
‘He has a fractured nose, concussion, stitches, knots the size of softballs on the back of his head. He never even saw it coming,’ she wrote.
‘The part that we are the most concerned with is that portion where Mr. Reid is on the ground and it’s obvious that he is unconscious, you can that his legs are not moving and he continues to be punched in the face,’ said Cullman Police Chief David Nassetta
The teen was given a guitar from Kenny Strickland of the band Trotline following the attack
Watts had been at the music festival Saturday night with his friends and girlfriend
‘It was horrible, I’m traumatized, I felt so helpless because I couldn’t get in there and get to him and I had to sit there and watch him get beat up while he’s unconscious, it’s horrible,’ said Watts’ girlfriend Katie Hudgins
The precise timing of the attack is not known, but singer Chris Stapleton was headlining Saturday’s concert at York Farms in Cullman, Alabama.
One bystander, Chase Brown, told the local outlet that he tried to jump in and help Watts.
‘I was thinking maybe if it was my little brother or one of my friends. I would hope someone would do the same. It was just so many people standing around watching,’ he said.
The teen was released from the hospital and has been recuperating at home following the attack.
He said that he’s doing alright and the whole thing ‘could’ve been a lot worse.’
Law enforcement officials say investigators working on the case will file charges soon. A press conference in slated for Wednesday afternoon.
‘The part that we are the most concerned with is that portion where Mr. Reid is on the ground and it’s obvious that he is unconscious, you can that his legs are not moving and he continues to be punched in the face,’ said Cullman Police Chief David Nassetta.
Festival organizers offered a $10,000 reward and lifetime tickets for information that would lead to the arrest of the attackers.
The organizers labeled the assailants ‘gutless cowards,’ but expressed appreciation for sharing pictures and information.
‘We’ve always been about community. We are proud of how our fans have come together like never before. Thank you RTS Family for your great work,’ wrote the festival on Instagram.