A punch to the face during an argument left a 39-year-old Brainerd man in critical condition at St. Cloud Hospital.
Chad Campbell was found unconscious in a parking lot at Seventh and Front streets about 1:25 a.m. Thursday, the Brainerd Police Department reported.
Campbell had been at a downtown bar when he got into a minor argument with another person, Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc said. Once outside the bar another man, identified as Bradley Thomas Lewis, 25, Brainerd, intervened in the argument and punched Campbell in the face, causing Campbell to collapse to the ground.
Campbell was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd and then transferred to St. Cloud Hospital with a serious head injury. Bolduc said it wasn't immediately known if Campbell's injuries were the result of the punch, collapsing to the ground or a combination of both.
A St. Cloud Hospital spokeswoman said Campbell remained in critical condition late Thursday afternoon.
Bolduc said officers, patrolling downtown after the bars had closed, were at the scene within two minutes but Lewis had left the area. Investigators interviewed several people and Lewis was identified as a suspect.
After an interview with investigators, Lewis was taken into custody at the Brainerd Police Department at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday and is being held in the Crow Wing County Jail for first-degree assault resulting a great bodily harm and third-degree assault. Formal charges are pending from the Crow Wing County Attorney's office.
The case is still under investigation but no other arrests are expected, police said. Anyone who may have witnessed the assault is asked to contact the Brainerd Police Department at (218) 829-2805.
It is the second assault in the past month that has resulted in serious injuries to the victim and serious criminal charges for the suspects.
Five men, including the victim, and a woman face felony assault charges following a July 15 fight in northeast Brainerd. According to court documents, the victim had consumed a gallon of vodka before confronting several individuals at a residence 1000 block of Seventh Avenue Northeast in Brainerd.
In the July 15 case, the victim allegedly lunged at one of the men with a knife in each hand. In response, the four men and the woman used objects described by witnesses as pipes, sticks or baseball bats to hit the victim, leaving him lying in the street in a pool of blood.
Bolduc said though the alcohol levels of Campbell or Lewis weren't known, alcohol was a possible factor in Thursday's assault.
"This isn't new. In the past we've had high numbers of assaults associated with alcohol consumption," Bolduc said. "Unfortunately, people's inhibitions are lowered under the influence of alcohol and sometimes that leads to violence."
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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