The mother of the Charlotte man arrested in a golf club-swinging fight that badly injured another man said Thursday her son swung to defend himself.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say 22-year-old Cameron Riggins sustained life-threatening head injuries when he was hit by a golf club during the brawl outside Providence Road Sundries in Myers Park early May 25.
Wednesday, police charged Konstandinos John Dino Drosinis, 24, with felony assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting serious injury. Late Thursday, his bond had been lowered from $75,000 to $10,000, but he was still in the Mecklenburg jail.
Thursday, Drosinis mother, Tammy Drosinis, stood by her son.
My son is not a thug, she said in an interview. He felt he was in serious danger and thats why he pulled out the golf club. I want people to know theres two sides to the story.
Riggins friends say Riggins required surgery at Carolinas Medical Center to relieve pressure on his brain, and he is still receiving rehabilitation to regain function of his legs.
The Riggins family declined to talk about the case Thursday. Through their lawyer, Ed Hinson of Charlotte, they issued this statement: Cameron Riggins suffered a life-threatening injury from which thanks to excellent medical care he is now making a recovery. He is grateful police arrested his assailant. He expects to testify when called upon to do so in court.
Riggins was at the popular restaurant with a large group of friends, mostly Charlotte Country Day School graduates.
Two of the friends who asked not to be identified say the group was leaving near closing time May 25 when Drosinis and two of his friends at the bar made aggressive comments toward women in the group. Riggins and his group continued to leave and several piled into a car. But the friends said before the car could pull out of the parking lot, Drosinis and his two friends came out and sat on the hood.
A shouting match followed and Drosinis and his friends jumped on and punched one member of the group, said Riggins friends. A full-blown fight broke out that ended with Riggins getting clubbed in the head and another friend getting his nose broken, the friends said.
Thursday, Tammy Drosinis told a different story.
She acknowledged her sons past scrapes with the law.
Drosinis has a string of alcohol-related arrests, including when he wasnt old enough to legally drink, records show.
Most of the charges were dismissed. However, he was convicted of communicating threats after a 2008 incident and twice convicted of underage-drinking offenses. Last year, a restraining order was filed against him, apparently by a relative.
In the May 25 incident, she acknowledged one of her sons friends, Patrick (she wouldnt disclose his last name), was drunk and said something he shouldnt have said to members of Riggins group of friends.
Thats where similarities in the two stories end. Seven of them jumped on Patrick, the mother said.
Dino and the other friend, Travis, tried to pull the seven off Patrick, but the struggle escalated into fight that spilled outside into the parking lot, Tammy Drosinis said.
Seven on three is not a fair fight, she said. Dino told me, Im fist-fighting one of them and two are jumping on my back.
Dino and Travis, she said, tried to end the fight, shouting to the other group that the fight was over, and they were leaving. They crossed Providence Road to get to Traviss car and leave, she said. But Riggins and his friends followed.
The fight resumed, she said. Every time they tried to open the door to leave, the other guys blocked them, she said.
So her son pulled a golf club from Travis car and shouted a warning: Im going to start swinging if everybody keeps coming at me, Tammy said.
He swung and knew the club had hit someone.
The three piled into Travis car and drove straight to CMPD headquarters to give police their statements.
Thats where Dino learned hed hit Riggins in the head and he was in the hospital with serious injuries, Tammy said. He threw up he felt so bad about it, she said.
As soon as Dino left the police station, he called his mother. He told her it was dark and he didnt know hed hit anyone in the head.
He was just swinging to get them off him, she said. He feels bad he hurt that boy. I feel bad for the boy and his family. I want them to know that I dont condone my son injuring someone for no good reason.
But I know my son felt threatened enough, if he felt he had to defend himself.