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BAT BEATING LEAVES MAN IN FIGHT FOR LIFE; SUSPECT HELD

An unidentified man believed to be in his mid-20s is fighting for his life today after being beaten with a baseball bat following a bar fight in the Theater District early this morning, police said.

The man suffered multiple fractures to the head when he was struck several times with the bat shortly before 4 a.m. on Washington Street, just south of Tupper Street.

David A. Williams, 30, was charged with first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon, according to Lt. Duane T. Rizzo, a police spokesman.

No motive for the attack has been established, but police have the bat believed used in the beating.

"The suspect made a claim to police that he thought the other man may have had a weapon, but no weapons were recovered at the scene or on the victim's person," said Capt. Joseph Riga, chief of the Homicide Bureau.

The injured man was taken to the Erie County Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition, according to police.

Witnesses told police that a fight broke out involving 10 to 15 young men inside the Squeeze, a bar in the 700 block of Main Street.

"From what we understand from the witnesses, the melee was inside," Lt. William Conwall said. "That was broken up by the bouncers, everyone was ejected, and the fight continued outside."

At least two of the combatants met outside and continued the fight on nearby Washington Street.

Central District Lt. Timothy Ring witnessed the fight, according to Riga.

"He tried to stop the fight, and the defendant got away in his car, and the lieutenant radioed a description of the vehicle," Riga said.

About two minutes later, Central District Officers Marlene Mott and Karen Quinn spotted a vehicle answering the description at Maryland and West Tupper streets and arrested Williams, Riga said.

Williams, who told authorities he lives at residences on Northumberland Avenue and Shields Avenue, was charged after detectives questioned him, Riga said.

This morning's fight was the second in less than two months at the Squeeze. In August, a fight in the parking lot behind the bar ended with an attempted robbery and a car chase that led to two accidents. Six people were taken to the medical center, but none of the injuries was considered serious.

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