Bar employee: Victim threw first punch in LSU brawl

BATON ROUGE, La. — Two employees of the bar where LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three teammates are accused of injuring four people in a parking lot brawl said Thursday that one of the victims "threw the first punch" shortly after he had been escorted outside by staff.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Shady's Bar general manager John Peak and door manager Jordan Neldare offer versions of the bar fight that differ from details in a police report released Thursday. Neldare said he was outside and witness the fight firsthand, but had not yet been interviewed by police.

There have been no arrests and no charges have been filed in the incident, but Baton Rouge police have said one of the alleged brawlers had three fractured vertebrae, which is serious enough to bring felony second-degree battery charges against whoever caused those injuries.

Both bar employees said Andrew Lowery, who has been identified by police as one of the victims, was asked to leave the bar around 1:30 a.m. last Friday when he appeared to be harassing a young woman.

Lowery did not challenge Neldare and two other staff members who confronted him, but within minutes of walking into the parking lot, he was in the midst of the fight, the bar employees said.

"What we do know is that Lowery threw the first punch," said Peak, who has interviewed staff about what happened. "That's one thing we do know and we will attest to — and he had been kicked out of the bar."

The police report said Lowery told investigators he was running to the aid of an unknown man who had been pulled from a pickup truck by men he believed were LSU football players. Lowery told police that he was able to help the man back into his truck, and was assaulted soon after by several people — including Jefferson and LSU linebacker Josh Johns — who Lowery said punched and kicked him repeatedly.

The report said police were later contacted by a 19-year-old woman named Victoria Long, who said she witnessed several LSU players beating Lowery and saw Jefferson kick Lowery in the face.

The four football players — who have not talked publicly since the incident — have hired defense attorney Nathan Fisher, who has represented LSU players in the past.

Lowery and three others who sought treatment at hospitals also have an attorney, Michael Bienvenue.

Authorities have not identified the three other than Lowery and have not specified who had the most serious injuries.

Police have named Jefferson, Johns, offensive lineman Chris Davenport, and receiver Jarvis Landry a people of interest in the fight.

All four were interviewed by investigators on Tuesday.

Then on Wednesday, police executed a search warrant of Jefferson's apartment and took 49 pairs of shoes, along with a DNA swab.

Fourth-ranked LSU opens its season Oct. 3 against No. 3 Oregon in Dallas. Jefferson was expected to start, but that could change if he is charged. In the meantime, Miles has not suspended Jefferson or the other teammates implicated in the fight. Jefferson has been recently sharing first-team work with fellow senior Jarrett Lee, and Miles said after practice Thursday speculating on LSU's quarterback situation next week "wouldn't do anybody any good right now."

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