On Friday, April 25th, a security guard working the Moonrunners Festival at Reggie’s Music Joint on South State Street in Chicago was stabbed in the lower left abdomen by what police and witnesses describe as a transient outside of the fest. The security guard was admitted to Northwestern Hospital in Chicago and was in stable condition after the incident. The transient also sustained undisclosed injuries, and was also taken to Northwestern. The transient was initially detained and was in custody pending charges, but according to Chicago police, has been released after it was found by investigators that the security guard was “the predominant aggressor.”
“They [police investigators] were questioning the so-called offender,” Officer Ganel Sedevic of the Chicago police tells Saving Country Music. “He was released without charging. The victim refused to prosecute. There’s notes [in the police report] stating the ‘quote, quote’ ‘victim’ was actually the predominant aggressor.”
The individual who stabbed the security guard was part of a bigger group of transients with dogs and instruments that were hanging out near the venue. The stabbing did not happen on the private property of Reggie’s, but slightly down the block from the establishment according to police and witnesses, creating speculation of why a security guard would be engaging individuals off private property, and why police weren’t called to handle the issue. “They had been asked to leave multiple times,” Jason from Reggie’s told Saving Country Music on Saturday. “It was like the 3rd or 4th time they’d been asked to leave. They apparently got violent at that point, started throwing things at the security guard, and then started throwing punches. And so the security reacted, and then one of the transients pulled a knife out and stabbed the security guard.”
A number of accounts said that police were called before the stabbing to deal with the transients, but according to Chicago police, no calls were made until the stabbing. There were also reports that the transients were harassing other businesses in the area, but police received no notification of that either. “We had no calls for that exact address, besides for the person stabbed that whole day,” explains Officer Ganel Sedevic. “I also ran a search for the 2000 block and the 22oo block, and those [stabbing] calls were the only ones that came in. I did a two block range from 2000 to 2200 South State. There were different calls, but they were all for the same incident. They were all within a minute, or a minute-and-a-half of each other.”
Questions Of Whether Transients Were There for Moonrunners
Shortly after the incident, the promoter of the festival addressed the crowd and said the incident had “Nothing to do with Moonrunners.” However according to multiple witnesses, including one that was part of the group of transients, one of the members of the party had a ticket to the fest and was inside for most of the event on Friday, and the group had traveled to Chicago to be a part of the festival. Some of the members of the party remained outside to look after the dogs, gear and instruments. “We took a 26 hour train ride from [Tennessee] to catch this show. And so we wanted to hang out with friends….We weren’t asked three or four times to leave. We were asked once, very rudely and after that, we were threatened with violence. So we moved down the street. After couple hours of mingling, we were getting restless. While my boyfriend was at the show, we decided to move back to the corner to discuss how we were going to get back downtown. Not even five minutes of resting our packs, a security guard was spraying us with bleach water. As soon as my friend stood up, the mob of guards came and assaulted my friend.”
Robbie Glick, the owner Reggie’s, told Saving Country Music, “I know that they were outside all day and they weren’t inside. It’s not like they were going back and forth or anything with the dogs. They were just hanging out and begging all day. I’ve never seen those people around here before, but I’ve seen people like those people. It’s hard to differentiate. We’ve never had that kind of problem at our place before as far as that type of panhandling. We have the typical intercity panhandlers.”
Questions About Saving Country Music’s Reporting
Josh Nutting, the promoter of the Moonrunners Festival yesterday said about Saving Country Music’s reporting of the incident, “They are reporting a mostly false exaggeration, one sided opinion. The fella from ‘Reggie’s’ quoted in said article was not even on site and not an actual employee at the venue, but, rather a record store clerk upstairs.”
When Saving Country Music called Reggie’s on Saturday and asked to speak to someone in authority, a individual named Jason answered the phone. Today when Saving Country Music interviewed Reggie’s owner Robbie Glick, he said there was no issue with anything said by either Jason or Saving Country Music in the initial report. When the quotes from the employee Jason were given verbatim to Mr. Glick, his response was, “Yeah, that’s good. I think the point the promoter was making was that they (transients) were not part of the crowd from Moonrunners. They didn’t have a ticket to the fest. They didn’t have anything to do with it. They didn’t have friends in the show. They weren’t waiting for anybody.”
Reggie’s Owner Defends Fest & Security Guard
Reggie’s owner Robbie Glick also came to the defense of his security guard, and the Moonrunners Festival. “[The security guard] didn’t do anything. He was trying to break up a fight. He was not being aggressive at all. The festival was a great festival. [The promoter] does a great job with it. He really wants it to do well. He doesn’t want anything negative coming down on it. Just because this happened, doesn’t mean it needs to be turned into a negative fest.”
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Also according to police, the ages of the alleged victim and the alleged aggressor were incorrect in the initial police reports. “Our initial notification had approximate ages,” Officer Ganel Sedevic says. “Our person stabbed was 26-years-old. The alleged offender that was released without charging is 24. The initial notification age was a little bit off.”
Though the promoter of Moonrunners has demanded Saving Country Music run a statement from the fest about the incident, no statement has been provided.
(4-29) – Kevin Curtain, a member of the band Black Eyed Vermillion that played Moonrunners, and a writer for The Austin Chronicle, posted a harrowing account of the incident on austinchronicle.com :
I exited for a smoke exactly as a tussle between a street kid and the Reggies security staff escalated to a dire level. The altercation, which had apparently begun when an employee sprayed cleaner on a loitering crust punk, quickly went from fistfight to mob beatdown about 40 feet from the club’s patio. The transient, part of a group that included two female friends and two dogs, was overtaken by four guards and stomped when he brandished a knife.
Suddenly, a security guard emerged from the scrum clutching his bleeding stomach and groaning, “That fucking crust punk stabbed me!” His coworkers and one volunteer ass-kicker pinned the attacker to the ground and repeatedly slammed his head into the concrete. As the brawl dispersed with approaching sirens, the kid sobbed loudly, his face awash with blood and one eye bulging from a visibly crushed socket.
He scrambled to retrieve his whining puppies while one of his female companions lay inexplicably unconscious on the ground. Soon the police arrived, hung caution tape, hauled members of both injured parties into ambulances, and exited. The blood on the sidewalk remained, a reminder that you need to watch where you step in this world.
Everyone was in the wrong, but I felt sympathy for the stabber. He wasn’t there by coincidence. Whether he was a fan of the music or a hanger-on to the scene, he’d surely arrived hoping for a good time, not emergency face surgery at the ER. Being semi-homeless and annoying didn’t warrant the treatment he got.
No-necks bouncing at clubs will always tell you they’re just doing their job, but this was all tribalism and testosterone. In the VIP room, one of parties involved bragged to me about how they’d made that “Oogle’s face swell up like a pumpkin.” Good god. There were no victories here.
Another artist who played Moonrunners, Pearls Mahone, has given an update on the severity of the security guard’s injuries. “My security guard friend has had major surgery, he has 25 staples down his midsection due to internal bleeding and will be unable to work his day job as a laborer or security for a few months at least! He has a young daughter to support.”