OLEAN — An Olean man was hospitalized after being assaulted during the Fourth of July fireworks show festivities.
The Olean Police Department received a report of the assault at 6:27 p.m. Thursday, responding to the city’s dykes near Adams Street and the East State Street bridge to find a 48-year-old man unconscious and with a broken jaw. The man was taken to Olean General Hospital and later Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo via ambulance.
The investigation is ongoing.
Olean police said Friday they have identified a suspect, but need a statement from the victim before pressing charges. The victim will likely be interviewed after he’s released from ECMC, which officers said they expected to happen at some point Friday.
The suspect and the victim knew each other and there was no threat to the public, police said. Officers were unsure about the cause of the dispute and assault.
Police noted there were many bystanders and witnesses to the attack, some of whom called 911. The dykes along the Allegheny River and Olean Creek are a popular spot for community members to watch the annual fireworks show at nearby Bradner Stadium.
The assault, as well as the subsequent police and emergency medical personnel response, occurred around the same time Bradner Stadium was emptied due to a flash flood warning by the National Weather Service.
The gates were opened back up at about 7 p.m. and the fireworks show went off without a hitch after dark.
Bradner Stadium gates had opened at 5:30 p.m. for the fireworks display, put on by the Olean Professional Firefighters Association. Various food vendors were also set up inside and at War Veterans Park across the street.
About 1,000 people usually watch the display from inside the stadium, with thousands more aligning the dykes, as well as nearby parks and parking lots around the city.
Police could not immediately say whether there were any other violent incidents or arrests Thursday around the area of the fireworks display.