WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) — A West Point man undergoes emergency brain surgery following a serious beating at a West Point restaurant.Ralph Weems the IV was airlifted to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo following the assault at the Huddle House between 1 and 1:30 a.m., Saturday.Friends and relatives tell WCBI that Weems and a friend, David Knighten, were at Waffle House, and got into an argument with as many as seven men. It involved some racial slurs. Weems and Knighten left and went to the Huddle House, and the other group followed.
The altercation became physical. Weems and Knighten were beaten. Weems ended up in Tupelo, and Knighten was treated at North Mississippi Medical-West Point.
Police say they’re investigating this as an assault, not a hate crime.
They continue to look for suspects and witnesses.
WEST POINT POLICE PRESS RELEASE
WEST POINT, Miss. — West Point Police Department is investigating an aggravated assault that occurred at the Huddle House Restaurant early Saturday morning. Police were dispatched to the scene at 2:10am in reference to a fight in progress. Once at the business located at 230 Highway 45 Alternate North, officers discovered an injured man in the parking lot and what appeared to be two other individuals rendering aid.
The man, whose name is not being released by the police, was transported to the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. He has sustained life threatening injuries but the full extent of his condition is still being evaluated. Witnesses on the scene told police that an argument occurred inside the restaurant which led to a physical altercation outside. The cause of the altercation is unclear and under investigation but the preliminary investigation has revealed that officers were also called to the Waffle House Restaurant an hour earlier involving the victim.
All parties were asked to leave the Waffle House at about 1:00am. Then at 2:00am E911 dispatched officers to the Huddle House. It’s not clear whether or not all of the parties were involved in both incidents. Witnesses on the scene were interviewed but were unable to give any details leading to the identity of the aggressors. The victim was accompanied by at least two other individuals who gave statements about the assault.
The witnesses described the aggressors as a group of black males but couldn’t provide any other information. The victim of the assault is white. Chief Tim Brinkley said, “This does not appear to be a hate crime. We are investigating this as an aggravated assault. It’s very early in this investigation but thus far the evidence and statements suggest that a verbal altercation turned physical and somebody got hurt.”
Investigators with the police department are in the process of reviewing surveillance video and putting together a list of suspects. One witness did provide a vehicle description and police are working on identifying the owner. Chief Brinkley says he hope the individuals involved with come forward voluntarily before arrest warrants are issued.
There is a reward of up to $1,000 through the Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers for information leading to an arrest in this case. This case is still under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 530-7151 or the West Point Police Department at (662) 494-1244.