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Fight with off-duty Town of Tonawanda cop sends man to ECMC

A scuffle Saturday night in the restroom of a Town of Tonawanda restaurant resulted in one man hospitalized with serious injuries and an off-duty town police officer under investigation.

The man suffered a deep cut when he struck the ceramic sink during an altercation in the small restroom at Mooney’s Sports Bar & Grill, 1531 Military Road, owner Chris McCann said.

“He was pushed through the sink,” McCann said late Sunday. “The sink was shattered. I had to replace it today.”

The owner said the injured man was bleeding profusely from his injury.

“It was the most blood I’ve ever seen in my life,” McCann said.

The injured man, whose name was not released, was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he underwent surgery late Saturday, police said. He was released from ECMC Sunday.

The officer, who has not been charged, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Police said the investigation is still in its early stages and declined to comment on what may have triggered the fight.

McCann, who was in the restaurant but did not witness the incident, also didn’t want to speculate on the cause. But it started after the off-duty police officer entered the restaurant at about 8:30 p.m. and walked straight to the restroom, he said.

“He wasn’t served any alcohol,” McCann said. “He wasn’t served anything at my bar. I don’t know what happened before that but I know that Mooney’s did not serve him in any way, shape or form.”

He described the injured man as a regular customer in his 50s and a “great guy.”

“He was in here with his wife,” McCann said. “They come in every week. They get a double order of chicken wings and have one beer. They watch sports on TV and then they leave. He’s there every week. He’s a regular. Very nice guy. A family man from Tonawanda.”

McCann said detectives questioned witnesses in the bathroom, patrons and employees and are reviewing surveillance video from inside the restaurant to piece together what happened.

“Tonawanda police have been very thorough in their investigation,” he said.

Chris Kaiser, president of the Town of Tonawanda Police Club, which represents the department’s 100 officers, said he was aware of the incident but declined to comment further.

“The officer and union are cooperating fully with the department,” he said.

Mooney’s is a local chain with eight locations combining an Irish pub and a sports bar. It’s perhaps best known for its 17 varieties of macaroni and cheese.

McCann said he could recall only one previous fight at the Town of Tonawanda restaurant, which is Mooney’s original location.

“There were families having dinner in here,” he said. “We’re a family restaurant. There were kids in here; there were adults in here. It was families.”

email: jpopiolkowski@buffnews.com

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