Fights, bloodstains mar holiday spirit in Aspen

Blood stains Wednesday on the sidewalk outside the Crystal Palace building, where the Bootsy Bellows nightclub is located.

Though the lights are up and the time is right, two incidents Wednesday indicate the holiday spirit in Aspen may not yet be in full effect.

First, a fight at a downtown club early Wednesday morning left bloodstains on the sidewalk and a smear of blood on the front window of The Aspen Times. Then, about 12 hours later, a family squabble outside Clark’s Market turned ugly and a 44-year-old man ended up in jail, according to police.

“I’m not sure that’s an abnormal number (of fights) this time of year,” said Aspen Police Sgt. Rick Magnuson. “I don’t think we can draw any conclusions.”

Police were called to Bootsy Bellows nightclub, located at the Crystal Palace building, just after midnight for an altercation, Magnuson said. No one was arrested, though an ambulance was dispatched, he said. No other details of the altercation were available, he said.

On Wednesday morning, numerous drops of blood colored the brick sidewalk in front of the Crystal Palace building, while The Aspen Times window, located two doors down, was smeared with blood.

Andrew Sandler, Bootsy Bellows owner, said Tuesday night was “Latin Night” at the club and things at one point got out of hand.

“It’s Latin Night and I don’t know what gets in the air,” Sandler said. “One section wants to have fun and one wants to fight.”

A group of people at the club who weren’t drinking were “just looking to fight,” he said. An altercation began and the group was kicked out.

“One of them was obviously still bleeding after he walked out,” Sandler said.

It was not clear Wednesday where the blood came from. Police made no arrests at the club, Magnuson said.

Then at about 12:30 p.m., police responded to Clark’s Market, where a man reported that a family member assaulted him, Magnuson said. The man said an argument started and John Riley, 44, punched him, pushed him to the ground and kicked him in the ribs, he said.

A witness later told police Riley hit the man three times before he fell to the ground, Magnuson said.

Officers contacted Riley behind the Red Brick Recreation Center, and Riley admitted to his part in the altercation, he said. Riley was arrested, charged with misdemeanor assault and battery and taken to jail, Magnuson said.


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