NVDAILY.COM | Local News
Posted September 28, 2012 | 24 Comments
Police: Brawl spurred searches
Authorities say addresses linked to motorcycle gang; no charges
By Joe Beck -- email@example.com
Search warrants authorities say they executed on four buildings linked to the Warlocks motorcycle gang were obtained days after gang members assaulted six people in a restaurant and bar, according to affidavits filed with two of the warrants.
The affidavits, signed by Investigator R.T. Swartz of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, appear with search warrants obtained for two residences, one occupied by Terry Chapman of 1448 Macedonia Church Road, Stephens City and the other listed as the home of Jose Rodriguez, 400 Hites Road, Stephens City.
No information was available on two other sites at 64 Mountain Road, Strasburg and 319 Stickley Drive, Stephens City.
Authorities say all four addresses were the subject of searches conducted by 25 members of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police.
No one has been charged or arrested, although an investigation is ongoing.
Swartz's affidavits say a fight that erupted between members of the Warlocks and six others late on Sept. 15 at the Del Rio Mexican Restaurant and Bar led to an investigation and the issuance of the search warrants.
The affidavit cites statements given by six people identified as confidential informants and victims in the case.
The affidavit states the fight began when one of the victims said a Warlocks member, later identified as Cynthia Funkhouser, falsely accused a male of touching her. The victim said "Funkhouser pointed at the male subject and stated, 'I'll get you! I'll be back with friends!'"
Funkhouser then left the room and returned minutes later with "numerous other individuals wearing the same vest with logos as Funkhouser," according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states that the first victim "tried to calm the situation and verbally explain ... that it was a misunderstanding and that nobody was looking for any confrontation." The affidavit states that a man, who appeared to be the leader of the group, identified later as Irwin Cowgill, "then placed his hands on the upper chest" of the victim and pushed the victim to the ground.
The fight escalated as another victim tried to intervene "and was immediately swarmed and assaulted by numerous people that were all associated with the Warlocks," according to the affidavit.
The fight continued with four other people identified in the affidavit only as confidential informants and victims joining in. One of them "confirmed that the individuals that associated themselves with the Warlocks had in fact been the aggressors and assault initiators," according to the affidavit.
One of the victims said Cowgill swung a knife "in a sideway slashing motion," according to the affidavit. Cowgill's intended victim was able to knock the knife out of Cowgill's hand, and another confidential informant and victim removed it from the scene, according to the affidavit. The affidavit states that the intended victim of Cowgill's knife attack received a small cut on the right middle finger, "but no medical attention was sought."
Cowgill and others with him continued to assault other confidential informants and victims, according to the affidavit.
Cowgill said in a 2010 newspaper interview that he was president of the Warren County Warlocks, and that the gang had reformed itself in recent years.
The affidavit states that one of the victims "stated that it seemed as if other members and associates were trying to 'prove themselves' to Cowgill, and Cowgill was their leader."
One of the victims said they saw Cowgill with another knife. He attempted to assault another person with it only to have the intended target remove it from his hand, the affidavit states.
The affidavit states that one of the victims was found a day later with "numerous welts and discolorations on the head and face" as a result of the fight.
The affidavit states that law enforcement officers based the search warrant requests on suspected violations of assault or battery by mob, acts of violence by a mob, prohibited street gang participation and shooting and stabbing and other offenses with the intent to maim or kill.
The items seized by police during the searches of the Chapman and Rodriguez residences included cell phones and smoking devices, according to search inventory and return documents.