Steamboat Springs Police said Wednesday that a conversation between two groups of men early Sunday in downtown Steamboat Springs led to a fight that put one in the hospital and another in jail. But officers still aren’t sure how or why the incident escalated.
“We had two groups of people having a, I don’t know if you want to call it a conversation, but they weren’t fighting words between each other, from what we understand,” Steamboat Springs Police Department Detective Nick Bosick said Wednesday.
Bosick said alcohol likely was a contributing factor in the fight at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.
In police and court documents obtained by the Steamboat Pilot & Today, Samuel James Warren, the Steamboat man arrested on suspicion of assault, told police they have the wrong guy. But both Thomas P. Murphy, the 27-year-old Illinois man who suffered a head injury during the fight and was airlifted to Denver after receiving treatment at Yampa Valley Medical Center, and his brother identified Warren as the culprit, according to an arrest affidavit.
Warren, 21, was arrested shortly after the incident on suspicion of second-degree assault, third-degree assault and possession of marijuana.
“I did not punch that guy,” Warren told Bosick, according to a search warrant filed in Routt County Court. “Someone else did, and I am not going to rat that person out.”
According to Warren’s arrest affidavit, he was identified by Murphy as “the guy who sucker-punched me,” and by Murphy’s brother, who also suffered injuries during the fight. The police officers who arrested Warren said his “right hand (knuckles) were red and had abrasions on them,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also indicates that two or three other men were involved in the incident.
“My brother and I got into a fight with these guys,” Murphy’s brother told police, according to the affidavit. “They knocked out my brother, and were kicking me in the head when I was on the ground.”
The affidavit states that Murphy suffered a skull fracture and his brother received stitches over his left eye to close a laceration. Bosick said Wednesday that Murphy has been released from Denver Health Medical Center.
Warren was released on a $10,000 bond Tuesday.
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com