Knife attack hampers weekend festival

Published 2:34 am Wednesday, May 17, 2023

A knife attack on the Batesville Square last Friday, May 12, during the Up in Smoke Food & Music Festival left a Batesville contractor seriously wounded and hospitalized in Memphis.

A Pope couple was taken into custody at the scene and have been charged. Assistant Police Chief George Williford, who is leading the investigation of the incident, confirmed Monday that police do not expect to make any further arrests in connection with the stabbing.

Arrested were David Wayne Allen, 57, and his wife, Jacquelene Paige Allen, 47. Both were released early Saturday morning on bond. He is charged with aggravated assault and she is charged with accessory after the fact. Paige Allen did not take part in the attack, but was charged after police said she concealed the alleged weapon.

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Chris Brocato was the victim of multiple stab and slash wounds. First responders, already on the scene for the festival, administered life-saving procedures on the scene before he was flown to The Med in Memphis, the region’s only trauma hospital.

Brocato remained hospitalized, but stable, at press time. He will not be charged, police said Monday.

Williford said besides Brocato, David Allen was also treated for a cut before being taken into custody. One other person, a member of a DeSoto County steak cooking team on the Square for the festival, was also treated for a cut after he tried to stop the onslaught.

Williford said he was stationed near the Gazebo at the time and saw what appeared to be a fight on the north end of the Square. He and other officers rushed to the tent near the railroad tracks, but could not intervene in time to stop the bloodshed.

The officer said the entire incident lasted less than a minute and probably closer to 30 seconds.

“This was one hundred percent an isolated incident and had nothing whatsoever to do with the festival,” Williford said. “Thank God we had medical personnel close by.”

BPD has not closed the investigation and were interviewing witnesses Monday afternoon and Tuesday.