A Flagler County father could be facing charges after deputies say he not only instigated a fight between his son and another student, but he also jumped in.
- Flager dad accused of instigating and joining fight between kids
- Deputies: Anthony Gardiner encouraged son to fight another student
- Gardiner could face disorderly conduct, battery charges
The grandfather of the victim said Wednesday that his grandson was just defending himself, and deputies say the man's son told them his father told him to do it.
The brawl happened at the Indian Trails Sports Complex in Palm Coast, which was caught on video, from people watching to others driving by.
"That's a child," one person yelled in the video.
"Is that an adult right there?" questioned another person.
"I think it's absolutely crazy. I don't know why he would do that," said Leonard Jankowski, the grandfather of the 14-year-old student who was pulled into the fight.
Jankowski said he was shocked watching the video of his grandson fighting another student.
Deputies said 34-year-old Anthony Gardiner instigated the fight.
"When it started, he had his backpack on, he had his phone, he had his earbuds in, then his father came pushing him and pushing him," Jankowski said.
Jankowski said his grandson came home upset.
Deputies said this is the second time the two teens have duked it out this month, claiming the father forced the rematch because his son lost the first fight.
"Back when we were growing up, we'd just get on with it, and that was it. Parents didn't get involved," Jankowski said.
Other parents rushed in to try to stop the fight. Some tried to correct the man for allegedly encouraging the fight and jumping in.
Sheriff Rick Staly said they won't tolerate this type of behavior.
"You shouldn't teach your kids it's OK to fight. It takes a much bigger person to walk away from a fight and resolve it peacefully than to throw a fist at each other," Staly said.
An unidentified woman answered the door at Gardiner's home and said the family had no comment.
"He's going to have to deal with the law on that, because he shouldn't have put his hands on my grandson," Jankowsi said.
The Flagler County School District said administrators spoke with both students and their families and were told no incidents on campus will be tolerated.
It's now up to the State Attorney's Office, but the man could face misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and battery.
The school district said although the fight didn't happen on campus at Indian Trails Middle School, it's working with the Sheriff's Office.