Band members stop assault, save man’s life

( left to right ) Jefferson Coker and Dave Grunstra of The Jefferson Coker Band break up a fight in the parking lot of Snapper Jack's.( Leroy Burnell/postandcourier.com/12/11/2012 ) Buy this photo

Quick thinking by members of a local band late Saturday might have helped save a manís life in an attack behind a Folly Beach restaurant.

Between sets, The Jefferson Coker Bandís four members stood on the back porch of Snapper Jackís restaurant on Center Street shortly before midnight and discussed which songs they planned to play in the coming hours.

They casually watched as two men walked across the back parking lot and saw a silver or white Nissan Xterra pull up to the pair, band leader Jefferson Coker said.

A woman stepped out of the vehicle, beer bottle in hand, and hopped into another seat, Coker said. Then a man got out with his hand clutched around a black tire iron, Coker said.

The man with the tire iron confronted one of the men on foot. They argued. And from where Coker was standing, the dispute seemed to stem from a prior encounter.

The weaponless man soon tried to walk away from the altercation, Coker said.

ďThe guy had his hands in the air and he kept saying, ĎIím going to leave. Iím going to leave,í Ē Coker said.

But the armed man kept coming.

The defenseless man reached up to grab the tire iron, but his adversary struck him in the head with the weapon, Coker said. The victim dropped to the ground and lay motionless.

By the time Coker made it to the bottom of the porchís steps, the armed man had already swung the weapon at the defenseless manís head a second time.

Coker and harmonica player Dave Grunstra ran between the two men and yelled for the armed man to stop.

A third band member ran inside and yelled for someone to call 911.

The man with the tire iron ran back to his vehicle at the sight of the band members and drove away before the attack could continue, Coker said.

The wounded man was rushed to a hospital, where he received 16 stitches in his head, police said.

A bartender at the restaurant later told police that the men had argued over a girl earlier in the night, but everything settled down when others intervened.

The bartender served the angered man two or three drinks. The man then paid in cash and left the venue, according to an incident report from the Folly Beach Police Department.

Everyone assumed the episode was over until the two men clashed in the parking lot.

Coker said the magnitude of the situation didnít hit him until afterward.

ďI didnít think about it,Ē Coker said.

ďI just saw what was happening and thought that wasnít the right way to go about it.Ē

Folly Beach police were still searching for a suspect Tuesday afternoon.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.

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