MASON CITY – The sweet, wet stench of booze wafted through the evening air, so thick that only certain elected officials would appreciate it.
The piercing sound of sirens, the babble of police radios, the low rumble of the running engine of an ambulance, blended with the murmur of people’s voices, which came and went at each corner. The ambulance hung back from the main fray, yet stayed centrally located on a bridge between two convenience stores. No one was quite sure where the next hot spot would flare, or if the situation had stabilized. Children giggled and laughed, but the looks on the faces of the adults were much more serious.
An otherwise tranquil evening in Mason City was spoiled by violence, as a melee broke out in the middle of the becoming-infamous thoroughfare known as Monroe Avenue.
The trouble started at the corner of Monroe and the 400 block of 2nd Street NW, according to Mason City Lt. Logan Wernet, and spread south to the 100 block of South Monroe Avenue. A person reported that two women were fighting, and then another report came in that a van had driven through and a knife had been thrown from it at someone. Groups of men were reported to be fighting at the 100 block of South Monroe.
Law enforcement converged on the area Wednesday at about 7:45 PM, and soon had at least two men in handcuffs. One person was taken away in an ambulance.
At the scene near Monroe Avenue and 2nd Street NW, as well as at the corner of Monroe and 1st NW – home to a newly-opened liquor store – police had groups of people stopped, asking questions, and taking statements. Onlookers and residents milled about, mostly in small groups, watching. Some sat on their stoops, smoking cigarettes. Others danced and jabbed one another in the ribs.
The ambulance soon pulled away, and police questioned a woman in a silver van with Worth county license plates, who inexplicably emerged from her vehicle with a plastic bag full of pill bottles and a jar of Vasoline.
Another van (also from Worth county) drove through as cops were dispersing the crowd, and the female driver had choice words for a certain photographer. “Who da – – – – you pointin’ dat camera at mo – – – – – – – – – -?!” She exclaimed, with a cigarette in one hand and the other on the steering wheel.
“This is like a scene out of Grand Theft Auto!” a person was overheard saying, referring to a popular video game with crime, violence and police.
Police chased the van down and had the driver pull over. Soon, everyone in the van had to get out, and police questioned them.
A woman then exited a nearby house with at least 6 children, wanting to know what was going on.
At about 10:00 PM. police were called back to a nearby area at the 200 block of North Jefferson.
At least 7 individuals were outside a home there, threatening a person inside. The aggressors were reported to have boards and other objects, some of them being thrown at the house. It was said they then fled the area and were headed to … 110 South Monroe Avenue. Later, at about 10:30 PM, the same person called police to report her car had been hit with a baseball bat.
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To help prevent crime in your neighborhood, heed the words of Eric “the crime dog” Bookmeyer, and “Don’t be afraid of snitchin'”.