FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) -An early morning fight at a popular Ft. Lauderdale restaurant and bar ended with one man stabbed to death and four others treated for cuts and bruises.
Ft. Lauderdale police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sousa said it happened just before 3:30 a.m. at Fishtales Bar on NE 33rd Street, just blocks from the beach across from Galt Ocean Mile.
According to witnesses, it all began when 54-year old James Pagano tried to break up a fight. In his attempt to break up a fight, witnesses say Pagano was stabbed. The man accused of starting the fight is 39-year-old Brian Krebs who had been drinking at the bar. Sousa said Krebs argued with Pagano and eventually became so enraged that he drew a knife and stabbed Pagano. Two employees of the bar and two other people who struggled to hold Krebs until police arrived were also injured.
Friends describe Pagano as a good friend and a great musician.
“He was just a huge part of the music community in South Florida. He’ll be greatly missed so it’s just a devastating loss,” said Jessie Thompson, a friend.
Jessie Thompson is also a musician and has played numerous times at Fishtales. On Sunday afternoon, she returned to pay her respects.
“He was just such a wonderful man. I live nearby. I didn’t get to say goodbye obviously, none of us did. So just being able to leave a little bouquet of flowers made me feel better,” Thompson said.
Pagano loved to play the drums and is seen on several videos posted on YouTube playing his heart out at the Fort Lauderdale bar.
His neighbor Gene Perih said, “he was very involved in his work as a drummer. He would hold charity events. He took his work serious and was a very outgoing guy and I’m sad to see this has happened.”
Others simply expressed disbelief.
“I’m really surprised. Shocked to hear that you know that’s a sad thing,” Phil Petress, his former neighbor told CBS4’s Tiffani Helberg.
Arriving officers took Krebs into custody. He was then taken to Broward General Medical Center to be treated for injuries. Charges are pending.
Anyone who was at the bar and saw what happened is asked to call Detective William DeJesus at (954) 828-5366.
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