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Crossfit

Police said a number of young people on bikes physically and verbally harassed members of a Port Jefferson Station gym last Thursday. Photo from Crossfit DHP

Crossfit DHP in Port Jefferson Station was the site of a tense confrontation between the owners of a local gym and a crowd of children and teens on bikes. Though police said nobody was hurt, owners said this could be a learning experience that parents make sure kids show respect.

Suffolk County Police said around 20 young people on bikes were roving around the Port Jeff Station area July 23, and that officers responded to two disturbances outside the gym at 5:30 and then around 6:15 p.m. Police said once they arrived, the groups dispersed with no injuries on either side.

Police said the young people then traveled to Wendy’s on Nesconset Highway and allegedly threw drinks and cursed at patrons. 

Two tickets were issued to two of the juvenile’s parents.

In a statement, gym owners said a group of young men and women on their bikes were seen smoking weed behind the building when they started harassing gym members who were going on their run.

We asked them to be aware of our presence but then they started hitting our members with their bikes,” the statement reads. “At that point we asked them to leave and that we would call the cops to which they said they were proud that the cops were chasing them around all day. With a lot of vulgar language and verbal harassment, they did start to leave as the cops escorted them out.”

On the way out, gym owners said one kid tried to throw a barbell at one of the gym members. The bikers left after police were initially called, but about 10 minutes later came back to harass the gym again. That is when the video was recorded, and owners said the bikers took pipes from their bikes and swung them at member’s heads. 

“To go even further, several of them spit on us, which during a pandemic is unquestionably wrong,” the statement read.

On July 31, police announced they have made two arrests, namely two males, both 15 years old, of Centereach, whom police said were involved in the incident.

One of the teens was charged with 2nd degree reckless endangerment for throwing a barbell at a gym member, and the other was charged with second degree menacing for swinging a bicycle seat at another gym member.

The teens were issued desk appearance tickets and scheduled for arraignment at Suffolk County Family Court in Central Islip Aug. 14.

A viral video posted to the Comsewogue Community Facebook page has since been taken down, but in that video the crowd of young people, most not wearing masks, surrounded the front of the gym’s parking lot where owners and a few gym members confronted them. 

One unidentified young person in the video in a light blue shirt became physical with one unidentified person from the gym, seemingly throwing a punch that doesn’t connect. Young people could be heard swearing and threatening the adults. Another man stepped forward holding a rod of some kind, but in the video he does not appear to use it on the bikers. 

At one point in the video, somebody tried to grab something from a woman at the gym, and a brief struggle ensued but was quickly broken up. 

Owner of the gym Ryder Champouillon and his wife and fellow gym coach Jen posted a video to their gym Facebook page the day after the original video was released, thanking community members for their well wishes.

In the statement, the gym owners thanked Suffolk County Police along with Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) for their genuine response to the incident. 

In the gym’s statement, they said this is not the first episode of harassment in the local community, and many more have posted about such incidents to community Facebook pages. Though thanks to the community, owners said they have already been able to identify many of the people in that video.

Our sole purpose within our facility is to offer the community a single outlet to find healthcare, nutrition and exercise that improves our lives, which improves our community as a whole,” the statement read. “We spoke earlier with members of the local government about moving forward with programs for the community and youth to have an outlet surrounded by positive role models.”

Owners asked anybody who could identify the bikers to send a confidential email to [email protected]

This post has been updated July 31 with information on two arrests.