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Laundrie neighbor allegedly assaulted protester, police say

Angelo Zappacosta
Angelo Zappacosta(SCSO)
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 4:25 PM EDT
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (Daily Sun) - Tensions in the North Port neighborhood of Christopher and Roberta Laundrie apparently boiled over Wednesday, when a neighbor was arrested for allegedly assaulting a protester outside his home, according to ABC7′s coverage partners at the North Port Daily Sun.

The Wabasso Avenue home of the parents of Brian Laundrie has been the focal point for a horde of media, protesters and law enforcement for the last two weeks as a manhunt for their son, Brian, continues. He is a person of interest in the disappearance and death of his fiancée, Gabby Petito.

Angelo Jason Zappacosta, 39, who lives on Ulster Avenue — the street behind Brian Laundrie’s parents home — is facing charges of battery and simple assault for reportedly shoving a man who was trying to pass out “wanted posters” in the neighborhood.

He was arrested and booked into the Sarasota County Jail Wednesday night and released on $620 bond Thursday, according to court records.

The police and FBI have visited the Laundrie home several times. Local, regional and international news media representatives have been ever-present.

The case has also drawn people carrying signs or using bullhorns aimed at the Laundries, demanding their help in finding their son.

Although the victim’s name is redacted from Zappacosta’s arrest report, Jonathan Riches told The Daily Sun that he was the one who was shoved and who filed the complaint.

Riches has been sitting across the street from the Laundrie home in a camping chair for several days this week, and has been among the people using a bullhorn to shout at the Laundries.

The scuffle happened just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, the report shows. Riches told police Zappacosta had walked up to him while he and Andra Griffin were trying to hand out wanted posters in the neighborhood.

Riches said Zappacosta confronted him about coming onto his property to hand out wanted posters the day before.

Zappacosta “began charging him while screaming at him,” the report states.

Zappacosta shoved Riches in the chest “aggressively with two hands,” sending Riches stumbling backwards, the report states.

Riches said Zappacosta swung at him with a punch, but missed, only catching a “glancing impact to the side of the witnesses’ ear as his arm was coming down,” the report shows.

When Riches said he was calling police, Zappacosta walked back to his home. Riches looked up property records to learn Zappacosta’s name and reported it to police.

Several news cameras captured video of the brief incident, the report states.

After watching video of the incident, police arrested Zappacosta. His arraignment date is set for Oct. 21.

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