Newburgh cop stabbed in melee; Mayor calls for regulating bar hours

A Newburgh police SUV is shown in this

A Newburgh police SUV is shown in this file photo. (June 18, 2012) Photo Credit: Leslie Barbaro

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Four people, including a police officer, were stabbed early Saturday morning during a melee outside a Newburgh night club, the Newburgh Police Department said.

After receiving calls about a fight in progress, cops were dispatched to The Dry Dock nightclub at 90 Broadway a few minutes after 2:30 a.m.

When officers arrived, they found a large crowd -- estimated at between 80 and 100 people -- outside the club, including several people involved in a fight.

When cops tried to break up the fight, one of the brawlers stabbed an officer several times, including a stab wound to the officer's neck, according to Newburgh Lt. Dan Cameron. The other officers quickly subdued the man, arrested him and recovered the knife.

Officers rushed their injured colleague to St. Luke's Hospital in Newburgh. The injured cop was stabilized there before an ambulance took him to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

The officer, who was not identified by police, was last listed in stable condition, cops said. Although the neck wound was a grave injury, the officer was spared another potentially life-threatening wound thanks to his ballistic vest, according to a police source.

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Two other people who were badly injured with stab wounds were flown by helicopter to regional trauma centers. A third person suffered minor stab wounds and was released after receiving treatment, police said.

A phone message was left Saturday with The Dry Dock's owner. The club, which occupies a renovated building near Newburgh's waterfront, was touted as another step in the small city's revitalization when it opened in 2011. Owner John Duke Panzella was quoted in a newspaper article at the time saying he had "zero tolerance" for violence.

"There haven't been any issues, and there aren't going to be," Panzella told the Middletown Times Herald-Record in 2011.


Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy said the stabbing prompted a new discussion among the city's elected leaders aimed at finding a solution to late night and early morning violence, particularly violent incidents involving big crowds. Earlier this year and during the summer months, police handled several large-scale violent incidents involving dozens or hundreds of people.

Newburgh's City Council members plan to look at their options for regulating bars and nightclubs under state law, Kennedy said.

"We need to do something about the late night trouble," Kennedy said.

Newburgh police did not identify the person who was arrested for allegedly stabbing the officer and did not say if that person has been charged. An investigation is ongoing with assistance from the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

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