Violence reported in downtown St. Louis after Friday's fireworks

10:12 PM, Jul 6, 2013   |    comments
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St. Louis, MO (KSDK)- Police say they responded to a pair of incidents in the Mercantile Exchange area Friday night right after the fireworks were over.

Police say right outside Takaya a fight broke out after someone took off with a valet's cell phone.

A few minutes before that, a group of about 14 teenagers attacked an employee who works at Robust Wine Bar across the street.

Police say the incidents happened between 9:30 and ten Friday night, right after the Fair St. Louis fireworks ended.

People who work on 7th and Washington say they saw crowds of people take over the area.

Joe Stapf says he was ambushed and attacked while he was talking on his cell phone in the alley behind Robust during his break. He was talking to his girlfriend when one teenager punched him in the face and ran off. Then more teens started attacking him for no apparent reason.

He says they took off without stealing anything.

Now he has a swollen face, a black eye and sore ribs.

"There is fourteen plus people in their group. When you see that many people around there is only so much you think you can do and when you want to take care of it yourself, one person can't take care of fourteen people," said Stapf.

His girlfriend, Tania Smolinski, was also a victim of a random attack in January. Police say she was punched while she was walking to her car in the Central West End.

 "It's just time to be kind to each other, take care of each other, and stop this. There is no reason for it. It just needs to stop," said Smolinski.

She encourages everyone to be alert and aware of their surroundings at all times.

Police say so far they did not arrest anyone in connection to these two incidents. Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers at 866-371-TIPS.


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