Assault at Rock the South Festival Leaves Teen Hospitalized

A teenager enjoying Cody Johnson‘s music at Rock the South in Cullman, Ala. was ambushed by a group of men who believed he spilled a drink on them. The Saturday night (July 22) attack left the 18-year-old in the hospital and local police searching for suspects.

Reid Watts’ mother Kaci Howard identified her son as the one seen being attacked in video shared to Facebook. The video may be disturbing to some, but it can be found at the bottom of this story.

“There were several grown men (30s-40s) who jumped on him and beat him unconscious while his girlfriend stood there screaming and crying for help,” Howard writes. “They continued beating him while he was on the ground until security finally got to them and got Reid and Katie out of there and to an ambulance. He has a fractured nose, concussion, stitches, knots the size of softballs on the back of his head. He never even saw it coming.”

Watts’ girlfriend Katie Faye Hudgins also opened up about the incident, telling WVUA 23 that the men accused them of spilling drinks on them. Then they came up from behind and began beating him until he was unconscious, “and stomping his head in with their boots.” Neither had a drink in their hand prior to the attack, she says.

Watts also talked to ABC 33/40 and said he’s doing OK and is thankful he wasn’t worse. His story matched his girlfriend’s but he adds he’d shaken the hand of one of the men before being attacked.

Chris Stapleton was the Saturday night headliner at Rock the South, an annual three-day festival that also featured Zach Bryan and Riley Green as Thursday and Friday night headliners. Cullman Police were initially asking for information but have since backed down and say they only want to talk to people who were an eyewitness.

The Associated Press shares that police say they’re closing in on suspects. “We now have a pretty good idea of who we think did it, and will release more information once the investigation has proceeded further,” Cullman Police Chief David Nassetta tells the Cullman Times.

Rock the South organizers are offering a $10,000 reward and lifetime tickets to the event for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

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