Assault victim found outside Athena

Sunday, December 31, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:07 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Columbia police found an unconscious 31-year-old man with severe head injuries on the sidewalk in front of Athena Night Club, 1100 Locust St., early Friday.

Police said they found the man at about 1:20 a.m. Friday following a disturbance at the downtown night club.

The victim, whose name has not been released, was taken by ambulance to University Hospital’s emergency room, where he was treated for a serious head injury. As of Friday afternoon, the man remained unconscious at University Hospital. The severity of his injuries is unknown.

Police have questioned two people in the assault, but no suspects have been identified.

Sgt. Ken Hammond of the department’s Major Crimes Unit said the victim was struck at least once and then knocked to the ground.

“There was no indication he was struck while he was down,” said Hammond, adding that the fall contributed to his injuries.

Hammond said police are investigating whether those involved in the assault confronted each other after the club closed.

Hammond said that, according to witnesses, only two people are believed to have been involved in the assault. Investigators are continuing to locate witnesses and several people were interviewed by police Friday morning.

Police said Athena staff have yet to be interviewed.

Athena has been a breeding ground for arrests and disturbance calls over the past year. Police were dispatched to Athena 18 times between January and October, more than any other bar in Columbia, the Missourian’s Vox Magazine reported last month.

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