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Winchester Police ID group fighting at En Ka Fair

Winchester Police believe they now know what caused fights to break out during the annual En Ka Fair on May 18. FILE PHOTO

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While the fights that caused an abrupt end to Winchester’s En Ka Fair are still being investigated, police now say they are confident they know what started it.

“We have a pretty good grasp of what occurred,” said Winchester Police Lt. Ed Donohue. “More can be learned, but we have a good understanding of what happened.”

Detail officers responded to between two to three incidents between 8:10 and 8:30 p.m. on May 18. Some calls, he said, were inside the actual fair while some were outside in the area of the high school on Skillings Road.

“It seems like a group of kids got together and they decided…they thought it would be funny to start a fight at the En Ka Fair,” Donohue said. “We believe that was their intention to cause a disruption. It was a single group of youths and they wanted to try to cause mayhem.”

Donohue said one person was treated for minor injuries.

“There was one person we identified as being involved in the fight, he was classified as a victim, and brought back to the station and treated for maybe cuts or bruises,” he said.

Police made no arrests that night. 

“Since the scene was so chaotic, a fight broke out, officers could not tell who were the aggressor parties,” Donohue said.

In the days after the incident Winchester Police began working with school resource officers in neighboring jurisdictions to help identify the offending parties.

“The group that prompted the fight were from Woburn,” Donohue said. “They posted a video online. We became aware of it and were able to identify two primary aggressors from the scene.”

Donohue said he expects to be able to bring those two individuals into the Winchester Police station for a discussion.

Donohue also addressed reports on social media of a weapon being shown.

“We have zero evidence of a weapon,” he said. “Our officers have not become aware of that. Someone alleged seeing a weapon that night. Officers said someone running away from the fight said they were told ‘they said he has a gun.’ No description of any party given to our officers. Nobody has come to us with any video.”

The first reports of the fights came in during the 8 p.m. hour and were broken up quickly. Donohue confirmed the fair did close early.

“The sergeant in charge on the scene that night confirmed that around 9 p.m. when everything had settled down, it seemed best to start shutting down rides at nine,” he said, adding police made the decision jointly with En Ka. “Everybody agreed that with the amount of people there, it isn’t a safe thing to have teenagers running around that wanted to start fights with people.

Winchester News contacted both organizations responsible for bringing the fair to Winchester — Rockwell Amusements, a Rhode Island company, which is the operator of the fair, and the En Ka Society, which is the Winchester non-profit organization sponsoring the annual fair. 

“We have been in close contact with the Winchester Police Department regarding the fair,” said En Ka Society President Judy Bongiorno. “The department has advised us to refer any inquiries regarding this matter to them.” 

Bongiorno failed to respond to a subsequent attempt by Winchester News seeking further comment. 

Rockwell Amusements President Harold Fera did not return a phone message left with his office.

As for the future of the En Ka Fair, Donohue said police and En Ka plan to sit down and have an after-action discussion to see what occurred and consider any safety measures for future events. 

“We want to keep it a great atmosphere for families,” Donohue said. “En Ka agrees that Winchester Police has some ideas that they could listen to, some recommendations for next year’s fair going forward would be good.”

Winchester News is a non-profit organization supported by our community. If you appreciate having local Winchester news, please donate to support our work, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Winchester News was a recipient of a 2024 grant from The En Ka Society that helped fund the printing and mailing of postcards from Winchester News to households in Winchester. The Society had no role in the reporting or publishing of this story.


Sen. Jason Lewis receives award from the United Way

Sen. Jason Lewis receives award from the United Way

The following was submitted by the office of Sen. Jason Lewis: State Sen. Jason Lewis was recognized by the United Way of Massachusetts Bay in a ceremony at the State House on June 6, 2024. Awardees were nominated for being champions of community voice and initiatives that further economic justice