Disorderly SouthSider Stops Fahy Bridge Traffic
Rafael Nunez threw a rock through plate glass window of hookah lounge, then disobeyed orders to stop and marched out onto bridge, police say.
A South Bethlehem man accused of throwing a rock through a plate glass window at an E. Third Street hookah lounge briefly stopped traffic onto the Fahy Bridge Wednesday as police tried to arrest him, according to court papers.
The suspect, Rafael Antonio Nunez, 30, continued walking west on E. Third Street – with both his arms and middle fingers extended – when a police officer that witnessed the vandalism ordered him to stop, the arrest affidavit says.
Instead, Nunez turned north onto the Fahy Bridge and walked into traffic, forcing the Bethlehem Police Department to briefly shut the bridge down, court papers say. Ultimately, according to The Express Times, police needed to use a stun gun to subdue him.
Before the incident escalated, the suspect had attracted the attention of Officer Stephanie Molnar, who while on patrol in SouthSide, spotted the 6-foot, 4-inch, 250-pound Nunez, walking west along the South Bethlehem Greenway.
He was wearing long braids in his hair, was flexing his arms, grunting and carrying what appeared to be a large rock in one of his hands, Molnar wrote in the arrest affidavit.
From that point, the affidavit says:
- Molnar called to Nunez and asked to speak to him, but he ignored her and kept walking. He turned north on Taylor Street.
- Nunez began to cross E. Third Street, but stopped in the westbound traffic lane and “wound up his right arm and appeared to throw something toward the Essence Hookah Lounge.” He wound up his arm and appeared to throw something again, but lost his balance and fell. Nunez then got up and kept walking west on E. Third Street.
- Molnar, who was following in a squad car behind Nunez, soon noticed the smashed plate glass window. The officer got out of the car and ordered Nunez to stop. That’s when he extended his arms and his middle fingers and kept walking.
- Nunez was “yelling and grunting” as he continued walking, turning north onto the Fahy Bridge.
The affidavit makes no reference to the use of a stun gun, though Molnar does note that she gave the suspect “several verbal commands to stop walking,” which he did not heed.
Nunez’s motive may be revealed in a police incident report from over the weekend. Nunez allegedly hit a bouncer with a guitar and bit him in the arm during a fight at the hookah lounge at 203 E. Third St. at a little before 3:30 a.m. Saturday
Nunez, whose home address is 809 Lynn Ave., was charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct in that incident.
The plate glass window Nunez allegedly broke on Wednesday is valued at about $1,000, the arrest affidavit says.
Nunez was charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors, for Wednesday’s incident. He was arraigned before District Judge Nancy Matos Gonzalez and committed to Northampton County Prison after failing to post $75,000 bail.