Original story below.
WEST POINT, Miss. (TheBlaze/AP) — The police chief in West Point, Mississippi, says he expects an arrest soon in what police are investigating as an aggravated assault that left Ralph Weems IV, a 32-year-old former Marine and Iraq war veteran, hospitalized with a brain injury.
Investigators are reviewing surveillance video from one of two restaurants where police were called early Saturday, Chief Tim Brinkley told The Associated Press on Monday. He said they’re also trying to find out why it took so long for anyone to call 911 about the fight outside the Huddle House
David Knighten of West Point says he and Weems, who also lives in the city of 12,300, apparently were followed to the Huddle House from a Waffle House where Weems had argued with other patrons.
Knighten told AP on Sunday that a man had waved him over outside a Waffle House and told him politely that people were upset by the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and it wasn’t a safe place for whites. When he went in, he said, Weems was inside and was arguing with other men.
They left after an argument that brought police, Knighten said.
That was about 1 a.m., according to police.
On the way to Weems’ house, Knighten said, they went into a Huddle House restaurant with a nearly vacant parking lot.
However, he said, they apparently had been followed by more than 20 people.
“From what we have seen from surveillance video and from what other witnesses say, it doesn’t appear it’s going to be nearly that many,” Brinkley said.
In an updated version of its story, the Associated Press seemingly removed comments from Knighten recalling “racial slurs being yelled from the crowd.” When he got outside, he said Weems was on the ground being kicked by a group of attackers.
Knighten says he has broken bones in his face, a cut over his left eye and a blood clot in his right eye.
“All my injuries were minor fractures and lacerations. I just wish I could have reached him sooner. Please keep your thoughts and prayers on Ralph,” he wrote on Facebook.
Reports described Weems’ injuries as “life-threatening” and noted he had to be placed into a medically induced coma after undergoing brain surgery.
Although the caller to 911 about 2 a.m. Sunday said a fight was going on, when officers arrived “all of the perpetrators had left,” Brinkley said.
Police are trying to determine whether Weems was beaten by people who followed the men from Waffle House, Brinkley said.
Weems’ brother-in-law Bradley Barnes says he has not had an update Monday on Weems’ condition.
He was in fair condition Sunday, according to Genie Causey, spokeswoman for North Mississippi Medical Center spokeswoman in Tupelo.
A $1,000 Crime Stoppers reward for information leading to an arrest apparently had not brought any tips as of Monday morning, Brinkley said.
In a press release, Brinkley said the attack “does not appear to be a hate crime.”
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