A Henrico County man was charged today with aggravated assault in an incident in which a bottle was thrown at reggae singer Frederick "Toots" Hibbert during a Dominion Riverrock concert.

Richmond police identified the suspect as William C. Lewis, 19, of the 2300 block of Crickhollow Court in Henrico County. He was charged with aggravated assault, a felony, and public intoxication, a misdemeanor, police said.

Hibbert received a bloody forehead laceration during the incident about 10:15 p.m. Saturday, and the concert was stopped 15 minutes early.

Police said Hibbert, the leader of Toots and the Maytals, was hit with a vodka bottle.

Investigating how the thrower acquired the bottle, workers discovered today that a vodka bottle was missing from a bar area, said Jack Berry, executive director of Venture Richmond, which produced the three-day music-and-sports event with Richmond Sports Backers.

"We believe it was stolen from the mixed-beverage sales area and not brought in from the outside," Berry said.

Beer, wine, vodka and bourbon are served at Riverrock, poured into plastic cups, Berry said

Security workers check all bags, and people are not allowed to bring in bottles, Berry said. "We have very tight procedures."

He added, ""We will of course debrief the incident and determine whether there are any improvements we can make to our security procedures."

Berry said no security changes were planned for today, the event’s final day.

Hibbert was treated at VCU Medical Center and released about 1 a.m.

Hibbert said he would like to return to Richmond, said Stephen Lecky, festival manager for Venture Richmond.

Lecky drove Hibbert from VCU Medical Center to his hotel, the Crowne Plaza downtown, about 1 a.m. today.

"He was in good spirits and was very appreciative of Richmond," Lecky said. "He said he wanted to come back, and he understood this was just one bad apple, basically."

"He was lucid. He was laughing. He was tired obviously. He had had a very long day.... He was one of the nicest men I ever met."

Berry said Hibbert was scheduled to travel to New York today to begin an acoustic tour. "I don't know if he will perform there as scheduled or not."

The Brown's Island area is safe, and people should come to Riverrock's final day today, Berry said.

"Dominion Riverrock is a wonderful event for our community, but unfortunately this edition has been marred by the actions of one individual...This was one individual who committed a horrible act."

John O'Donnell, who works for Soundworks, a Richmond company that helped produce the concert, said he saw the incident.

"I was on stage at the sound monitor desk when a clear glass liquor bottle struck Toots Hibbert in the head," he said. "Blood was flowing heavily from his head."

O'Donnell said that a towel was applied to Hibbert's wound and he dropped his microphone and left the stage.

Berry and O'Donnell both said the crowd immediately helped police arrest a man who those there identified as the person who had thrown the bottle.

O'Donnell said some in the crowd were chanting at the suspect, who looked to be in his early 20s, and police "kept him behind the stage in custody until the crowd dispersed."

O'Donnell said many in the audience were unaware what had happened and at first were calling Hibbert back for an encore.

A guitarist with Hibbert's group told the crowd that Hibbert was "going to the hospital with a busted head."

The guitarist told the audience he had never seen this happen in 30 years of performing. Hibbert has been a major figure in the reggae genre since the early 1960s.

Berry said that once the incident was over, the crowd remained calm and dispersed without incident.

 Staff writers Michael Martz and Randy Hallman contributed to this story.

Receive daily news emails sent directly to your email inbox

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.


Toots and the Maytalls onstage
Watch as performer Frederick "Toots" Hibbert, frontman for the legendary reggae band The Maytals, ends the group's show at Dominion Riverrock after Hibbert was struck by a bottle.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.