Jan. 30 – A man died at an Anchorage hospital on Wednesday, days after he was punched outside a downtown bar, police said. A 21-year-old man has been charged in her death.
Anchorage Security Patrol was called to the Gaslight Lounge bar on West Fourth Avenue in the early hours of Jan. 22 to a report of an intoxicated person, according to charges signed by Assistant District Attorney Daniel Shorey. The bar is located directly opposite the police headquarters.
The patrol is dispatched by the Anchorage Fire Department’s call center in response to reports of people who appear to be incapacitated by alcohol or drugs in public, according to the city’s website.
When the security patrol arrived around 3:20 a.m., Carl McGeary, 44, was seated and breathing, the charges said. Bar security staff told the security patrol team that McGeary had been hit, Shorey wrote.
Security Patrol personnel took McGeary to the Anchorage Security Center, which is located adjacent to the Anchorage Correctional Complex. The center is used as a place to monitor the sobering process, according to the city’s website.
When they arrived at the security center, staff found that McGeary was unresponsive to stimuli, although he was still breathing, so they called for medical help, the charges said. McGeary was taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center, according to the charges.
Anchorage Safety Patrol vans are staffed by a state-certified emergency medical technician. It’s unclear whether McGeary was evaluated for injuries related to the assault or how long he was unconscious in the van before arriving at the center. A spokesperson for the city’s health department, which runs the patrol program, did not immediately respond to questions on Friday.
McGeary’s family made a report to police online. Officers attended the hospital Monday, where they learned McGeary was brain dead and would not recover from his injuries, the charges said.
He died Wednesday in hospital.
Detectives reviewed CCTV footage from the Gaslight Lounge, and McGeary could be seen leaving the bar at 2.50am, laughing and talking with another man outside the door before they started pushing each other, charges allege.
A man standing in a nearby group outside the bar approached McGeary and punched him in the head, the charges said. McGeary had no other interactions with the man or others he was standing near, according to the court document.
“McGeary immediately falls to the ground and his head hits the pavement hard,” Shorey wrote. The man who punched him stood outside the bar and “at some point raises his arms in celebration and dances in a circle,” the charges said.
Neither the bar workers nor the witnesses called 911 to ask for police or doctors, according to the charges.
A bar worker named 21-year-old George Murfitt as the man who allegedly assaulted McGeary, the charges allege.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for Murfitt’s military barracks, and clothing matching what the man was seen wearing in surveillance video was removed from his barracks, the charges allege. Murfitt is a private first class in the U.S. Army and is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Shorey wrote.
Police questioned him Thursday at department headquarters. Charges said he admitted to being at the bar and punching McGeary.
Murfitt was arrested for manslaughter and is being held at Anchorage Correctional Center. He did not appear in court on Friday but was scheduled for arraignment on Saturday.
McGeary’s death came as a shock to friends and family, according to an online fundraiser and memorial that describes him as “the most incredible father, brother, friend and human.”
A police department spokeswoman did not respond to questions about McGeary’s death on Friday.[Correction: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect spelling of McGeary.]