PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Crime tape surrounded the popular Pat’s Steaks in South Philadelphia after an all-out brawl turned deadly overnight. Police say the fight involved roughly seven people and one of them used a trash can lid to hit the victim.
The violence unfolded around 2 a.m. Thursday at South 9th Street and East Passyunk Avenue. Police say two groups of people got into an argument and then got physical.
“It feels like a surprise with just how violent that was,” Elliot Lewandowski, who lives nearby, said.
Investigators say one group used a trash can lid to beat a 28-year-old man over the head. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Police later identified the victim as Isidro Cortez from Queens, New York.
Crime Scene Unit makes progress processing evidence. Investigators just bagged the trash can lid possibly used in the deadly attack at Pat’s Steaks. Police say the 28-year-old victim was hit in the had with a trash can lid then beaten by a group of people while on the ground. pic.twitter.com/HRWNw2FOdd
— Jan Carabeo (@JanCarabeoCBS3) September 16, 2021
“When he collapsed, several individuals with the perpetrator began punching and kicking this individual when he was on the ground,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.
Meantime, two other men were taken to the hospital for treatment. A 64-year-old man, who police say is the father of the man who was killed, was taken to the hospital in stable condition. A 30-year-old friend of the victim was also taken to the hospital.
The owner of Pat’s declined an on-camera interview with Eyewitness News but says the video of the brawl won’t be released publically due to how violent it was. He disputed the police department’s account, saying he watched surveillance video and claims the man was never hit with a trash can lid but instead, was beaten unconscious.
As for the discrepancy in how this man was killed, police say they are at the beginning of their investigation and information could change.
Police are collecting evidence, reviewing surveillance video and speaking to eyewitnesses. At this point, they believe the argument at Pat’s Steaks may have actually stemmed from a soccer match that happened hours earlier in Chester, Pennsylvania. Police say many of the people involved in this fight were wearing yellow jerseys with “Club América” written across the shirt.
“Our preliminary information was these individuals may have been spectators at a soccer game that was held earlier and they ended up at the steak shop, and that may have been what started the argument that turned into a fight, which escalated into a homicide,” Small said.
All police are saying right now about that soccer game is that it happened in Chester. The Union played a team from Mexico on Wednesday at their stadium in Chester and the visiting team wore yellow jerseys, but police have not yet said if that is the game that may have led to the violence.
No arrests have been made. Police say the suspects possibly left in a white or light-colored SUV.
Police believe they’ll be able to track down these suspects rather quickly because of all of the surveillance video in the area. There are 31 surveillance cameras on the property.
Many of the cameras were installed after a 22-year-old man was shot to death on July 22 following an argument over a parking space. The man charged in that incident has claimed self-defense.
The steak shop is open 24/7.
“I, unfortunately, kind of think they shouldn’t be open 24/7,” Leah Weisner, who lives nearby, said. “But it’s kind of hard to control that, of course, because it’s a business so I get that. I hope that people are more aware of this stuff and hopefully, at some point, you can get this under control. Just really horrible to continue to see people go through this.”
Pat’s owner was defiant that he will not be changing his hours.
Pat’s reopened Thursday morning after police conducted their investigation, and the owner said he’s speaking with police about adding a dedicated officer to this area for the overnights.
The suspects are believed to be in their 20s. Police say they have a light complexion and were wearing yellow shirts with “Club América” written on them.
CBS3’s Jan Carabeo and Howard Monroe contributed to this report.