Woman was kept from giving help that might have saved life after bar fight, she says
By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 06, 2011
The family of a woman stabbed with a bottle outside a bar early Sunday says bar employees prevented a first-responder from helping a mother of six who lay bleeding to death on a sidewalk near Bank of America Stadium.
Related story: Bar: Allegations of wrongdoing ‘simply not true’
The family also faulted police, but a captain who oversees that division says officers did all they could to save Antoinette Baker’s life – including trying to stop her bleeding.
Baker, 30, was fatally injured outside Hartigan’s Pub, a few blocks from the stadium. She died at Carolinas Medical Center after being stabbed in her neck and abdomen.
Katie Robinson, 32, a former school bus driver, was in Mecklenburg jail late Monday, charged with murder in connection with Baker’s killing. Robinson makes her first court appearance today.
Baker’s brother, Juan Chambers, said after his sister was stabbed, a woman outside the pub identified herself as a first-responder, but the bar’s owner and, later, police, wouldn’t allow the woman to help.
“She would have at least had a chance,” Chambers said of his sister. “Imagine if she had pressure on her wounds. She would be alive today.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Jeff Estes, who heads the Central police division that includes Hartigan’s, said his officers did everything they could to help Baker, including applying direct pressure to her wound with a towel.
The owner’s of Hartigan’s couldn’t be reached for comment, and the pub was closed Monday. [Ed. Note -- qnotes has also attempted to reach out to the owners but our calls have not been returned.]
Baker had just enrolled in nursing classes at Central Piedmont Community College and had just gotten a new apartment, Chambers said. She was at Hartigan’s to celebrate with her two sisters. Baker and Robinson got into a fight in the bathroom, Chambers said, but security guards broke it up, and both parties went their separate ways.
“This girl, I guess she was still upset and she waited for my sister to walk out the door,” Chambers said. “She busted a bottle inside the bar and came out and stabbed her in the stomach and in the neck. (Baker) didn’t see it coming. Didn’t nobody see it.”
A nurse said she was outside the bar at the time. The woman said she rushed to Baker and tried to stop the bleeding, according to WCNC-TV. The woman asked not to be identified.
“I’m holding her, trying to put pressure on her wounds and stuff, and I’m snatched up by one of the owners of the bar. “I’m like, ‘I’m a first-responder. She needs help, let me help her.’ And she said, ‘I’m the owner of the bar. Don’t touch her. Police have been called.’ ”
The officers arrived by patrol car shortly after someone called 911 around 2:21 a.m.
They encountered a crowd of about 50 people in a small alcove where the stabbing happened. The crowd was “belligerent” after the fight, Estes said. Officers had to part the crowd to get to Baker, Estes said. And they had to locate the stabbing suspect and the weapon.
Someone gave one of the officers a towel, and he was able to apply pressure to Baker’s wound.
Estes also said officers must think before allowing a citizen who claims to be a first responder to intervene.
“Unless they show verified credentials, we don’t know,” Estes said. “We don’t know what state of intoxication they’re in.”
CMPD directives require officers to be trained in the use of CPR and to provide aid “to any person in need.” Officers are directed to consider officer safety and to make reasonable attempts to protect the integrity of a crime scene.
Estes said he was surprised that people believed officers acted inappropriately.
“Everything that we are trained to do, we did,” he said.
OBSERVER STAFF RESEARCHER MARION PAYNTER AND WCNC-TV CONTRIBUTED.