Bar employees: Victim threw 1st punch in LSU brawl
BATON ROUGE, LA. (AP) - Two employees of the bar where LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three teammates are accused of injuring four people in a parking lot brawl said Thursday that one of the victims “threw the first punch” shortly after he had been escorted outside by staff.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Shady's Bar general manager John Peak and door manager Jordan Neldare offer versions of the bar fight that differ from details in a police report released Thursday. Neldare said he was outside and witnessed the fight firsthand, but had not yet been interviewed by police.
There have been no arrests and no charges have been filed in the incident, but Baton Rouge police have said one of the alleged brawlers had three fractured vertebrae, which is serious enough to bring felony second-degree battery charges against whoever caused those injuries.
Both bar employees said Andrew Lowery, who has been identified by police as one of the victims, was asked to leave the bar around 1:30 a.m. last Friday when he appeared to be harassing a young woman.
“What we do know is that Lowery threw the first punch,” said Peak, who has interviewed staff about what happened. “That’s one thing we do know and we will attest to _ and he had been kicked out of the bar.”
The police report said Lowery told investigators he was running to the aid of an unknown man who had been pulled from a pickup truck by men he believed were LSU football players. Lowery told police that he was able to help the man back into his truck, and was assaulted soon after by several people _ including Jefferson and LSU linebacker Josh Johns _ who Lowery said punched and kicked him repeatedly.
The four football players _ who have not talked publicly since the incident _ have hired defense attorney Nathan Fisher, who has represented LSU players in the past.
Neither attorney returned phone calls seeking comment on Thursday’s developments.
According to the account Long gave to police, the fight began because one of the other alleged victims had yelled from his truck at the occupants of another vehicle that was blocking his path.
“That truck stopped right in the middle of the whole altercation,” he said.
Neldare said he had gotten a good look at the beginning of the fight after jumping in the back of a co-worker’s pickup truck to get a better view, but his attention was diverted when he saw a fellow employee walking toward the fracas.