Local

Elgin man arrested in three-on-one fight at Bandito Barney's restaurant in East Dundee early June 3

Police: The fight began over the victim's American flag T-shirt

East Dundee police arrested an Elgin man for his involvement in a three-on-one fight at Bandito Barney's Beach Club, a restaurant/bar in downtown East Dundee, which occurred about 12:30 a.m. on June 3.

Abraham Perez, 31, was arrested about 2 a.m. June 3 and charged with battery and obstruction of justice, said Sergeant Andrew Ritter of the East Dundee Police Department. Perez has since been released on bond to await his court date.

"It was what you might say is your ... stereotypical bar fight where there were a lot of people involved and it was hard to tell specifically who was punching and who was trying to break up the fight," Ritter said. "... Ultimately, we have determined that we have one victim and three offenders."

The victim, a 39-year-old Elgin man, told police that the whole thing started because Perez and two other men were angered by the T-shirt he was wearing, which had the image of the American flag on it.

"There were no words on the shirt," Ritter said. "The only thing I saw on the shirt was red, white and blue and stars."

Ritter said that footage from the bar's security cameras showed that Perez approached the victim, who was standing alone at the bar. The two appeared to exchange a few words, drawing closer so that they were "ear-to-ear," he said.

Then, Perez shook hands with the victim and appeared to move away a bit. They exchanged a few more words and then Perez pushed and then punched the victim, Ritter said.

"Alcohol played a huge role in the fight," he said. "At least, the offender that we arrested was highly intoxicated."

Police are unsure of what was said leading up to the fight as the bar's security footage did not contain audio, Ritter said.

All on-duty East Dundee police officers responded to the incident as well as officers from the West Dundee and Carpentersville police departments.

When police arrived on scene, the bar's staff had broken up the fight. Police proceeded to interview a few suspects as well as the victim and others who witnessed the incident, Ritter said.

The victim suffered multiple lacerations to his face, but refused police's offer to call for an ambulance. Ritter said he thinks the man may have sought medical attention later in the day on Wednesday, but could not confirm that.

As Ritter and a few other officers went inside to review the bar's security footage, Perez left the scene. He returned over an hour later when police were able to make the arrest, having identified him as "the main instigator" of the fight from the security footage, Ritter said.

"The victim is telling us that it was all about his shirt and some of the statements made by the offender, Mr. Perez, some of them coincide with that," he said. "Mr. Perez was offended by the victim's shirt ... it's a weird dichotomy of what's been going on in our society these past weeks."

Perez was given an additional charge of obstruction of justice for his refusal to sit in East Dundee police's squad car after being arrested.

"We spent five to six minutes talking to him to get him to sit in the squad car so that we didn't have to physically put him in the squad car," Ritter said. "With everything going on, obviously, we are trying to use the least amount of force as possible."

East Dundee police are in the process of issuing warrants for the arrest of the two other individuals involved in the fight, whom Ritter did not wish to name. The two other men are believed to be friends of Perez, but none of the three offenders knew the victim before that night.

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