Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert, the 67-year-old reggae star who coined the term reggae, was injured during a performance at Brown’s Island when a concertgoer threw a liquor bottle and struck the singer on the head.
The show was immediately stopped, about thirty minutes early, and Hibbert was rushed to VCU Medical Center. A hospital spokesperson says the singer has been discharged.
The free concert by Toots and The Maytals was the headlining music event for the weekend long Dominion Riverrock Festival. It was expected to run until 10:30 p.m. but the band started roughly 20 minutes late, and a security official during the show said the show would've run until 10:45.
Concertgoer Thomas Smith says that the show was just reaching its peak, during a cover of John Denver's "Country Roads," when a bottle was tossed from the large crowd. (Seen at minute 4:27 in the video below.) After being struck, the singer began bleeding from the forehead, threw down the mic and left the stage.
The band’s guitarist came back onstage shortly afterward, Smith says, and told the crowd that in over 30 years of playing shows around the world "in front of some eastern bloc countries and hostile [audiences]" nothing like this has ever happened.
"And because of one shameful asshole, the show has to stop," the guitarist told the crowd on a video of the event posted on Toots and the Maytals' Facebook page. "Really, we should just throw that fucking guy to the audience right now.”
Smith says the crowd immediately helped point out the offender and that the police took away one male in handcuffs. The police could not be reached for further information.
Toots and the Maytals were scheduled to play Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center in New York tonight and had numerous dates coming up around the east coast.
A 19-year-old, identified by Richmond police as William C. Lewis of the 2300 block of Crickhollow Court in Henrico, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding, a felony which carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, and public intoxication.
Venture Richmond's Stephen Lecky drove Hibbert to the hospital and says that the singer was released with stitches in his head at around 1 a.m. and was very understanding about the event."He was amazing. He understood it was one bad apple and said that he likes RIchmond and would like to come back," Lecky says. "He was lucid and laughing -- almost apologetic that one bad apple had to end such a beautiful event."
Lecky says he heard the band was currently on its way to its next scheduled show in New York and that Hibbert was sleeping in the back of the bus.
Lecky says that Venture Richmond is still reviewing how the suspect managed to get a clear liquor bottle into the event, as bags were checked at entry. There were mixed drinks being sold in plastic cups throughout the day.
Jack Berry, executive director of Venture Richmond, told the Richmond Times Dispatch that they believe the bottle was stolen from the serving area and not brought in from outside.
When the suspect was initially pointed out in the crowd, he was immediately whisked away by security and held backstage while the crowd chanted threats, according to Smith, an eyewitness at the scene.
"Security [RMC Events] did a great job of getting him backstage, isolating and holding him there and the crowd quickly dispersed peacefully," Lecky says.
Richmonders have been taking to social media in droves to express their condolences for Hibbert and their regret at the actions of the individual. The Facebook page for Toots & The Maytals asked for anyone with further video evidence to contact them, under a post titled "PLEASE HELP TOOTS."
National media outlets including Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, and ABC News are also reporting on the story.