Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009

Barrett Speaks

By Lisa Kaiser
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Mayor Tom Barrett looked and sounded a lot better than I expected in his first public appearance since being attacked Saturday night, considering the extent of his injuries. Speaking to reporters on his front lawn, the mayor sported a gash from the corner of his nose to his lip and a big bandage on his right hand, which is fractured. He’s also missing a few teeth and has stitches in the back of his head, but those injuries weren’t easily visible.

Barrett downplayed his efforts on Saturday night, when he heard people cry out for someone to call 911.

“Virtually any other citizen would have reacted the same way,” he said about his attempt to call the police on his cell phone.

That’s when the actions of his attacker got weird.

“The response was so bizarre,” Barrett said.

He didn’t go into specifics because of the ongoing police investigation.

He has a few more doctor visits this week, he said.

Authorities have 20-year-old Anthony J. Peters in custody and are questioning him in the attack. He has not been charged with a crime, but he is being held on $25,000 bail. He has a court appearance scheduled for today.

To recap: Barrett said he went to the State Fair with two daughters and other relatives to hear a band on Saturday night. He didn’t have security with him. “Everything was going great,” he told reporters today.

On the way to his car after leaving the fair, he heard a woman cry out for someone to call 911. Allegedly, Peters was arguing with the grandmother of his year-old child. Authorities say witnesses claim that Peters was intoxicated and had threatened to shoot himself and others.

Peters allegedly went after Barrett when the mayor took out his cell phone to call 911. According to John Barrett, the mayor’s brother, Peters punched Barrett in the stomach, and the mayor fell to the ground. Barrett came up swinging. Peters allegedly beat Barrett with a metal police-style baton. Barrett’s niece Molly called 911 while his sister took the mayor’s two young daughters out of harm’s way.

No on else was injured.

President Obama called Barrett to check in on him and commend him for his efforts.

“The president was very cordial,” Barrett told reporters today.

The mayor had a vacation scheduled for this week. Instead of going away with his family he’ll be recuperating at home.

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