Violent assault leads to awareness event Dec. 30

(Editor's note: The following contains strong subject matter some may find difficult to read.)

PLATTSBURGH - In the early morning of Nov. 19, Christopher Rigsbee and his girlfriend, Darcel Downing, had planned to walk to a friend's house from a downtown bar. Instead, they ended up in the emergency room of CVPH Medical Center.

"[We were] just on Broad Street walking to a friend's house," Rigsbee recalled. "We just wanted to eat chicken wings. We were both assaulted by people that are at large. It was a gang assault."

Rigsbee explained as they were walking, a group of guys called him "hateful, homophobic names," and he approached them.

"They pushed me and of course I was a little drunk and pushed back," he said. "That was when they punched me."

While Rigsbee was being assaulted, his girlfriend tried to break up the fight.

"She tried to pull some of the guys off me while she was screaming at them to stop," he said. "One of the guys punched her in the face. So, needless to say, she backed up and just tried to scream for help. No one came out of their homes."

Rigsbee said during the assault, his glasses fell to the ground, making it difficult for him to see and defend himself.

"[They] ended it with grabbing the back of my head and bashing it against the sidewalk," he said. "The dentist had to pull bits of gravel out of my gums and bits of shattered teeth."

Rigsbee, who has no health insurance, said he lost three teeth, with a fourth one probably going to need to be pulled in the near future.

"This is just the beginning of what seems like it's going to be months and maybe a couple years of dental procedures," he said.

After Rigsbee's friend, Matt Hall, heard of the assault, he began planning an assault awareness event, to be held Thursday, Dec. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Koffee Kat. The event is free, although donations will be accepted to offset some of Rigsbee's medical bills.

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