NORTH ANDOVER – A former National Guard medic who served two tours in Iraq spent his wedding night in jail Saturday after he left the reception at a Veterans of Foreign Wars banquet hall and allegedly assaulted three men — including one at least 65 years old — in a downstairs bar after telling older veterans in the bar that they don’t appreciate the service of Iraq War vets.
Philip Brooks, 32, a former North Andover resident now living in Gloucester, was arrested in an area hotel and charged with two counts of assault and battery and one count of assault and battery of a person over 65 with a dangerous weapon, North Andover Police Lt. Charles Gray said.
Yesterday, police did not have the age of the older victim, but VFW manager Joe Lynch said he may be in his 80s.
Three people were treated by emergency medical technicians at the VFW bar, including the older victim, who suffered a bruise when Brooks allegedly slammed his head against the bar, but no one was seriously injured, Gray said.
Lynch said Brooks’ alleged rampage began when he came down to the bar to get a coat after the reception ended at about 8:30. He said Lynch “snapped” when several of the 15 or so people at the bar turned to see who was walking in.
‘“What are you looking at?’” Lynch recalled Brooks saying when he caught their glances.
“He started yelling at people,” Lynch said. “He was disrespectful of the older vets who were in here. He was calling everybody out. I don’t know if he was drunk, but he was crazed.”
Brooks also told the older veterans in the bar, including at least one who had fought in Vietnam, that they don’t appreciate veterans who served in Iraq.
Brooks’ new wife and another friend were able to get him out of the bar and into a car, Lynch said. They drove to a nearby hotel, where police arrested him later Saturday evening.
He was still being held on $15,000 bail last night and is scheduled to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court this morning.
“He’s not a bad guy, he just flipped,” Lynch said, r
ecalling how Brooks bear-hugged him earlier in the evening thanking him for the reception. “I don’t know what happened.”
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