Tag Archives: flare guns

Blacktip Island Erupts In Decades-Long Family Feud


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.”

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Flare Gun Shootout Mars Blacktip Island Unity Day

flare guns

Some of the emergency signaling pyrotechnics seized by Blacktip Island police after Thursday night’s signal-flare shootout. (photo courtesy of Raphael Marquette)

A flare gun battle between two Blacktip Island Unity Day dock parties, celebrating the island’s varied cultures living peacefully together, resulted in three arrests, fourteen injuries and the confiscation of all flares and flare pistols Thursday night.

“It started as good holiday fun,” said Clete Horn, whose eyebrows were scorched off in the melee. “We had country music playing on our dock, the Sand Spit Bar had reggae blasting on theirs, and people were hollering back and forth at one another.

“Each party had its own fireworks show, and they started at the same time,” Horn said. ‘Next thing you know, folks were adding their own fireworks, trying to outdo the other dock.”

Police say the situation escalated quickly.

“First it was bottle rockets being fired dock-to-dock, then Roman candles,” said Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette. “Next thing we knew, people had broken out emergency signal pistols and were blazing away.

“At one point party-goers were swimming out to moored dive boats to rearm themselves with nautical flares,” Marquette said. “They were even firing those big parachute flares to see their targets better.”

The island’s medical clinic was overwhelmed by the injuries.

“I’m not set up for something on this scale,” island nurse Marissa Wrasse said. “There were so many burns, I ran out of unguent. I had to grab mayonnaise from the ‘fridge and slather that on burns.

“Ran out of that, too, by the end,” Wrasse said. “Dermott Bottoms took a direct hit right down the back of his shorts. You have no idea the size of Dermott Bottoms’ bottom.”

Authorities confiscated all incendiaries to prevent further violence, a move that angered some locals.

“It’s not safe, Rafe leaving us with nothing but survival mirrors,” boat captain Marina DeLow said. “What if we have an emergency and need to signal for help?”

The police, however, remained adamant.

“Damn right I seized all the flares,” Marquette said. “These yobbos were even throwing smoke canisters and orange dye markers at each other.

“This is why they can’t have nice things,” Marquette said. “Until they learn how to use pyrotechnics responsibly, they’ll just have to jump up and down and waive their arms if there’s an emergency.”

Unity Day organizers, meanwhile, have scheduled an alcohol-free follow-up celebration Friday evening they hope will bring the island community back together.

“We figured we’d get everyone in one place, then sit down and talk things out,” Unity Day committee chair Kay Valve said. “Of course, Dermott’ll have to stand, but that’ll be a reminder why this is so important.”

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