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A fight broke out in a Long Island courthouse Friday as a 20-year-old man was arraigned on murder charges. Family members of accused killer Pedro Merchant, seen below, and those of the victim in the case, Dante Quinones, 17, began arguing with each other during Merchant’s arraignment at First District Court in Hempstead, Nassau County Police said. Court officers booted the disruptive family members out of the gallery and into the hallway, but the tension turned into a full-on throwdown between the two groups. The free-for-all spilled out onto Main St. and eventually came to involve close to 100 people, officials and witnesses said. Eleven court officers were injured in quelling the madness, and six men were arrested on charges of rioting and criminal contempt. Most of the court officers who were hurt suffered minor injuries, but one of the 11 was hospitalized, according to a Nassau County Police spokesman. The six alleged brawlers — Rahim Robinson, 22, Aaron Munlin, 20, Jerry Merchant, 50, Louis Merchant, 51, Shapeace Goodwine, 22, and Terry Green, 28 — were all expected to be back in the same court Saturday for their own arraignments, officials said.
In the courtroom Friday, a judge ordered Merchant held without bail for allegedly shooting Quinones to death on a Hempstead street on Sept. 11.