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Private party at Winchester's Aloft Hotel had exceeded capacity as fights began
By J.R. Williams -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Nine people were arrested by Frederick County authorities early Saturday morning after uninvited guests crashed a New Year's Eve party at the posh Aloft Hotel on Millwood Pike, officials said.
At least 10 law-enforcement agencies responded to the hotel after 12:45 a.m., where fights broke out in a crowd attending a private party.
The Frederick County Sheriff's Office reported that three people were hospitalized, and a woman arrested in the melee was charged with malicious wounding after allegedly cutting a woman above the eye by striking her with a beer bottle.
Aloft General Manager Lacey Bowen said the hotel provided a venue for a third party that hired security and a DJ for the event, which was held in the lounge area.
Security personnel were checking off names on a list as attendees arrived, she said, but a bartender called authorities when the crowd surpassed a previously determined limit of 100. She estimated about 150 people were there.
"When people started arriving that were not on the list that was OK'd, we called the police and simultaneously several fights broke out," said Bowen, who was present during the incident.
She could not identify who organized the party.
Frederick County Sheriff's Maj. Robert "Robbie" Eckman said some fights had spilled into the hotel parking lot, and that the party began to clear when authorities arrived.
The woman accused of swinging the beer bottle, Ann Denise Johnson, 36, of 556 Smithfield Ave., appeared for a bond hearing in Frederick County General District Court on Monday via video from the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.
Frederick County Deputy C.M. Himelright charged Johnson on Saturday with malicious wounding, according to information filed in the court.
Judge Amy Tisinger ordered Johnson to remain held without bond at the jail and appointed the office of the public defender to represent her.
Tisinger said she took into consideration Johnson's record of previous convictions and incidents of failing to appear for scheduled court dates. Johnson asked the judge to a grant her release on bond because she has to put her house in order as the sole provider for her six children.
Eckman said another arrested woman, Jataia Johnson, 18, of the 1100 block of Woodland Avenue, Winchester, allegedly punched a woman in the head while she was being interviewed by a deputy. Johnson faces an assault and battery charge, Eckman said.
Also arrested by the Sheriff's Office were:
• Katory L. Beamer, 18, of the 200 block of Liberty Avenue, on an attempted malicious wounding charge.
• Lionel R. Harris, 26, of the 1000 block of Cameron Street, Winchester, on drunk in public and trespassing charges.
• Glenn Farrish, 22, of the 200 block of Parkside Drive, Winchester, on an obstruction of justice charge.
• Steffon I. Washington, 20, of 242 East St., on an underage possession of alcohol charge.
• Uryan J. Butler, 18, of the 2700 block of Blue Ridge Terrace, Winchester, on an underage possession of alcohol charge.
• Aaron A. Virgo, 21, of the 300 block of North Loudoun Street, Winchester, on a drunk in public charge.
• Corey D. Bly, 19, of the 100 block of Maloy Drive, Winchester, on a drunk in public charge.
An employee on duty at the hotel's front desk Monday who worked on New Year's Eve said he was not allowed to comment on the incident and referred questions to Bowen.
Eckman said deputies from Frederick, Clarke and Warren counties responded along with police from Winchester, Front Royal, Berryville, Stephens City and Middletown.
State police also responded.
Bowen lauded authorities' quick action and said the hotel would leverage stronger control over private events in the future.
"Anything that [will] be done will be done in-house, through the hotel itself and through our own security," she said. "Since we outsourced the event itself we had no idea that it was going to be as chaotic as it was. It's definitely not the impression we want to leave Winchester with."
There was no damage to the hotel.
Staff writer Alex Bridges contributed to this story.