Two men charged with rioting after threatening and assaulting patrons, staff at Denny’s in St. George

Southern Utah

ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – Fifth District Court in Washington County formally charged two men with rioting Tuesday after St. George police said they threatened and attacked patrons and staff inside a restaurant over the weekend.

St. George Police Officer Tiffany Akin told ABC4 News the incident happened around 3 a.m. Saturday. Authorities said they arrived on scene, quickly located the male suspect outside who they believed started the fight, then ran back inside after learning another fight was about to break out.

With more than 15 patrons inside the restaurant at the time, Atkin said law enforcement acted immediately, requesting all 7 St. George police officers on call.

“Patrons and employees of Denny’s were alarmed at how quickly and how violently this incident escalated, so it was imperative from our point of view to get there and stop the violence as soon as possible,” Atkin said.

The cause of the violence? Officers said the suspects told them they “let their egos get the best of them” when they thought a few patrons looked at them the wrong way.

“‘I can’t believe you looked at me like that’ kind of a thing. ‘I’m tougher than you are,'” Atkin said. “It doesn’t make sense, and it certainly doesn’t make it right.”

After detaining the alleged instigator, Misikopa Asaasa of St. George, law enforcement said a woman came out of Denny’s and frantically waved at them to run inside, where they found a second male suspect, later identified as Jacob Garisau of Washington City, actively walking towards a customer. Garisau made threats to beat up the group sitting at a table, according to police records.

Both suspects were placed under arrest while officers assessed the injuries of the victims, observing a male who told them Asaasa punched him in the face and neck. An ambulance transported the victim to Dixie Regional Medical Center, officials stated.

Officers say they reviewed security footage and saw Asaasa striking an employee when she tried to break up the fight after the manager repeatedly demanded the suspect leave the building.

Garisau and Asaasa have both been charged with rioting, a third-degree felony, disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor, trespassing and threatening violence, both class B misdemeanors. Asaasa has also been charged with two counts of assault, a class B misdemeanor.

Both suspects have posted bail and been released; however, St. George Police doesn’t believe either men pose a danger to the public.

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