The man who allegedly beat an off-duty firefighter so badly that doctors still don’t know where to operate because the swelling is too bad, claims the Firefighter started it, the Sun-Times reports.
The lawyer for Brian Ruiz said Friday that his client was only defending himself against belligerent off-duty firefighter Matt Jones. Jones, the lawyer said, provoked Ruiz and even took off his shirt and challenged him to the fight.
The lawyer, Andrew Jester, described the brawl, which left Jones beaten, bloodied and in critical condition, as “mutual combat.”
Jester said Jones spit in his client’s face when he offered a handshake and a truce.
But prosecutors aren’t buying that story.
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Antonietti said Ruiz's ruthless attack on Jones did not suggest a man who was fighting honorably. Jones’ injuries were so bad that Friday night doctors still could not discern where he might need surgery because he was so disfigured.
Jones’ injuries include a chipped bone in his lower neck, a broken nose, a dislocated collarbone, internal injuries and multiple facial fractures. The 24-year-old firefighter continues to spit up blood at Illinois Masonic Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.
Police recovered a pair of bloody sneakers from the 2100 block of North Sheffield that are believed to belong to Ruiz, suggesting he stomped on Jones’s face and body.
Ruiz has been charged with two counts of aggravated battery in the attack, according to the Chicago Police Department. One of the counts of aggravated battery was specifically for great bodily harm, according to a CPD press release, and both are felony offenses. Police also charged Ruiz with having a fake ID, and charged a second person with other offenses not specifically connected to the battery.