Bar-break brawl hospitalizes man and wife, police say

Benjamin S. Brasch
Marc Lester

Anchorage Police said an early morning brawl at bar-closing time downtown has left a man clinging to life at a local hospital. His wife, whose shouts to a group of people in parked white SUVs might have sparked the confrontation, was hospitalized as well, though with less serious injuries.

The fight occurred around 3:15 a.m., police said. Officers found the man unconscious with injuries to his head and body in the parking lot behind Gaslight Lounge, 721 Fourth Ave. The people in the SUVs had fled by the time police arrived.

John Pattee, owner of Gaslight Lounge, said neither the couple nor the men in the SUVs had been drinking in his bar.

Pattee said his manager reviewed video surveillance recordings with police and told him that the video shows two couples walking west through an alley just after 3 a.m.

At 3:05 a.m., Pattee said his manager told him, the video showed the three white SUVs park behind the Gaslight Lounge. One of the female pedestrians started to yell at the group in the SUVs, who had just parked.

He said his manager didn't tell him the size of the group. But after the woman shouted at them, they attacked her and her husband. After the wife fell to the ground, the men from the SUVs broke off the fight and started to return to their cars.

That's when the woman got up and appeared to shout something again, Pattee said. The men from the SUVs returned and starting beating the couple again, he said.

"They practically killed the guy," Pattee said.

A police spokeswoman said she couldn't confirm or deny Pattee's description of the events.

Police said other incidents were taking place around the same time, including a "large disturbance" outside the Anchor Pub. "Bar break," when bars are required to shut down, has become an increasingly chaotic time in downtown Anchorage.

Police ask that anyone with information about the incident call dispatch at 786-8900 or, to remain anonymous, call Anchorage Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP.

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