As the band prepared to take the stage, it's being reported that Flanegan pushed his way into the bands dressing area with a hunting knife, where he he slashed ex-bandmate Michael Couls in the arm and stomach, and slashed another ex-bandmate William Berario in the face and bit his cheek.
It's also being reported that Flanagan sustained a broken leg while being subdued, after which he was handcuffed to a chair and carried out by authorities, while fans booed him and he managed to give them the finger. Bowery Boogie has posted photos of Flanagan being removed from the venue handcuffed in a wheelchair.
Organizers pulled the plug on the concerts, after which the New York Post has reported that Cro-Mags vocalist John Joseph told the crowd, "You can all thank Harley Flanagan for ruining the night for everyone."
The band has issued a statement, saying:
We as a band are truly sorry for the way it all turned out in every regard, even the ex-member whose family is now affected by his choices. Our prayers go out to them as well as Mike C., and the others who were hurt, but it was 'his' choice to come to our concert with a hunting knife, standing by our dressing door. Who knows what his actual intent was?! Obviously he wasn't there with it to cut bread for a peace offering as he was heard saying outside he was putting an end to us playing without him. Let's move on now and stop the trash-talking. Keep that PMA — that's what we are all.
Organizers of the CBGB Festival issued their own statement as well, saying:
We are saddened to learn about the events that occurred at Webster Hall. Our primary concern is always the safety and experience of New Yorkers, music fans and the general public. Naturally, we will fully cooperate with law enforcement while hoping for the speedy recovery of those injured.
Live music can be incredibly uplifting, empowering and positive. We don't feel the actions of one person should overshadow four amazing days and nights of events that include historic and unprecedented free concerts in Times Square and Central Park.
The events are a culmination of years of bad blood between the members of the influential New York hardcore band, years that have been marked by feuds, lineup changes and diverging bands.
Founded in 1981 in New York City, the original lineup featured John Joseph on vocals and Harley Flanagan on bass. Joseph left the band with Flanagan taking over vocal duties. Joseph would return later, but constant feuding would plague the band to the point that times would find both Flanagan and Joseph touring with two different versions of the band under names like Cro-Mag Jam and Cro-Mags-NYC. Some sort of resolution to the feud was all but inevitable, but it's sad that it had to be in bloody violence.
In an interview with The New York Times, Joseph said of Flanagan, "This dude has been a negative thorn in the side of this band forever. I hope he gets what’s coming to him."
The Cro-Mags have long been an influential band, not only in the early days of the hardcore scene, but in the later days of crossover thrash, where hardcore bands began adopting metal-based influences with the likes of Suicidal Tendencies and Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, a sound still progressing today with bands like Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust.
While all the details are still coming forward in the case, and with all reports based on alleged eyewitnesses, Flanagan was reportedly charged with two counts of 2nd degree assault and weapons charges.
With full details still coming to light, it seems readily apparent that Flanagan did show up with a knife, and violence ensued. The possession of a weapon implies that there was violent intent, but we'll be keeping an eye on this story as it progresses.