Some of the flare pistols confiscated by Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette during the current Bottoms-Conlee feud in Blacktip Island’s Little Seoul neighborhood. (photo courtesy of Sustructu)
A long-simmering family feud erupted in violence Thursday evening in Blacktip Island’s Little Seoul district, leaving three persons injured and several others emotionally scarred, island officials said.
“Things get ugly fast up in Koreatown,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Usually what happens there stays there, but this started at the public pier, then the fight spread to bars and work sites. I confiscated every flare gun on the island and they’re still shooting at each other.
“It started with James Conlee fishing at Diddley’s Landing, only he was in Dermott Bottoms’ corner spot,” Marquette said. “The families have unwritten rules for that kind of thing, to keep the peace. But James got him a snootfull of white rum and the veneer cracked.”
Community members say the feud brings back bad memories
“This is how the gang wars started ten years ago,” local Cori Anders said. “Dermott’s daddy tossed his hand line too close to James’ daddy’s. Would’ve been no big deal, but Booger Bottoms ended up catching a big, fat snapper. Took months to end the violence, and grudges smoldered for years.”
Island authorities say residents should avoid the neighborhood until the violence can be contained.
“We don’t want bystanders injured by crossfire or drive-bys,” Marquette said. “Well, technically pedal-bys, since all the Bottoms and Conlees have had their driver’s licenses revoked for drunk driving.
“I’m up there half the day and all the night to keep a lid on it,” IPC Marquette said. “We’re trying to broker peace, but James and Dermott aren’t making it easy.”
Each side claims the other is to blame.
“Insult to my family, you know. Things were settled, now this,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Daddy’s rolling over in his grave right now. That’s his hard-won fishing spot.”
“We won’t forgive and we won’t forget,” James Conlee said. “Them Bottoms crossed our lines years ago. I just balanced the scales.”
Locals worry about safety island-wide.
“Rosie and Peachy Bottoms were at the Ballyhoo last night, minding their own business, when Jesse Conlee busted in with a flare pistol,” resident Val Schrader said. “Popped a flare straight down the bar at them. No one was hurt, but it cleared the Ballyhoo right quick.
“My heart goes out to Rosie Bottoms and ‘Cephus Conlee.,” Schrader said. “They got married a month ago, they live in the middle house in Little Seoul and’ve been catching pure hell from both sides. Habitat for Humanity’s sitting on ‘G,’ waiting on ‘O’ for the gunfire to stop so they can go in and rebuild.”