December 11, 2012

Two hurt, one seriously, in Gardiner fight on Monday

Joey Gagne, 20, of Augusta, struck in head with hammer, suffers fractured skull, employer says

By Craig Crosby
Staff Writer

GARDINER -- Two people were hurt -- at least one seriously -- during a fight outside a Neal Street apartment early Monday morning, police said.

Gardiner Police Chief James Toman said one person suffered a broken arm and another suffered what appeared to be a significant head injury after being hit by a blunt instrument.

Lou Craig, owner of College Carryout on Mount Vernon Avenue, said one of those injured is an employee of his, 20-year-old Joey Gagne of Augusta. Craig, who has known Gagne for years, said his friend's skull was fractured when he was hit by a hammer.

"I saw the X-ray and there's a hole in his skull," Craig said. He said Gagne is being treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland and could be released as soon as today.

"The doctor told him if it had been an inch over he wouldn't be here today," Craig said. "It would have been murder."

Toman said police are still investigating the aggravated assault.

"We're not getting a whole lot of cooperation from any of the parties involved," he said.

Police went to Neal Street around 5 a.m. Monday in response to a call about a fight involving as many as 10 people. The melee had settled down, though people continued to argue, when police arrived within a couple minutes of the call. Gardiner police officers talked to those involved and they agreed to go inside, Toman said.

Officers left the scene, believing the matter had been settled, but about 20 minutes later they were called back to Neal Street when the fight resumed. This time two people were hurt, Toman said.

Toman would not release additional details about the case.

Gagne did not want to talk publicly about the attack because he had not yet given a statement to police about what happened.

Craig said he was told that the first fight started when a group of people showed up at an apartment where Gagne was staying with a friend. Gagne told Craig he was hit with the hammer as he left the apartment a little while later. Gagne's friend rushed outside when he heard the commotion and struck one of Gagne's attackers with a steel pipe, which apparently broke the man's arm, Craig said.

Craig said he doesn't know why Gagne was targeted. He hopes police can find out what happened and charge those responsible.

"He's a good kid," Craig said. "He doesn't look for trouble, but it seems to find him. He's never been in anything like this."

Craig Crosby -- 621-5642

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