SALTSBURG, Pa. - A Pittsburgh-area bar owner is charged with simple assault in connection with a brawl at his business early Sunday, but his friends and customers said the pool-cue wielding barkeep was simply defending himself and his business and trying to prevent a drug deal.
Sharpsburg police Officer Jonathan Kimmel was on patrol when a worker at Big Pat’s Bar ran up to him and said almost 30 people were battling inside the upstairs pool hall, according to Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.
Police said when Kimmel’s backup officers arrived, they stormed into the bar and saw dozens of people running around. While the officers ordered everyone to stop fighting, owner Walter Rogowski reached over them and struck another man in the head with a pool stick, authorities said.
Rogowski, 40, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, officials said. Rogowski is being held on $10,000 bond in the Allegheny County Jail. His pretrial hearing is set for March 28.
Rogowski's friends said the fight started when he tried to stop a drug deal in a bathroom and some friends of the participants started a fight while playing pool.
Rogowski's friends said they expect he'll be exonerated by the bar's security video.
According to police, this was the second brawl at Big Pat’s in less than six months. In October, officers said a man slashed a patron with a meat cleaver and then threw beer bottles at customers.