MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was recovering Monday from wounds he received after a man beat him on the head with a pipe after the mayor tried to assist a grandmother screaming for someone to call 911.
A spokesman for the mayor didn't immediately have an update on his condition Monday. On Sunday, he was in stable condition at a local hospital with a fractured hand and other head and hand wounds.
Doctors will decide later Monday whether Barrett, 55, should stay another night in the hospital, said his spokesman, Paul Vornholt.
The mayor went to the Wisconsin State Fair outside Milwaukee on Saturday night with his sister, two daughters and a niece. As the group left and walked to Barrett's car, they heard a woman screaming for someone to call 911, police said.
Police said the woman was a grandmother who was trying to protect her 1-year-old granddaughter from a 20-year-old man, an assault authorities characterized as a domestic dispute.
"The mayor stopped and said something (to the man) like, 'Let's all cool down here, I'm going to call 911,"' the mayor's spokesman Patrick Curley said. "He said it one or two times according to him. When he took out his phone, that's when the suspect attacked him."
The suspect hit Barrett in the head and torso with a metal pipe. Barrett apparently fought back, fracturing his hand when he punched the suspect.
The suspect then fled the area when he heard sirens. He was arrested on Sunday at a Milwaukee home, and police recovered the alleged weapon. The woman and baby were uninjured.
Kent Lovern, chief deputy district attorney in Milwaukee County, said Monday morning the office hadn't received the case for review so he didn't expect to file charges until later in the week.
The mayor, who did not ask for security to accompany him to the fair because he wasn't on official duty, underwent successful surgery Sunday on his fractured right hand and also had cuts on his head and lip stitched up, Curley said. The mayor likely will remain in the hospital through Monday, he said.
The mayor's brother, John Barrett, said Sunday the family was optimistic about the mayor's recovery.
"We're extremely proud of Tom's selflessness and his courage," John Barrett said, fighting back tears at a news conference.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said authorities had no reason to believe the suspect knew it was the mayor he was attacking. Police said the suspect was intoxicated at the time, had wanted to see his daughter and had threatened to shoot himself and others.
Under the city's line of succession, Common Council President Willie Hines would take command if the mayor were incapacitated. Curley said he briefed Hines but didn't expect a transfer of power would be necessary because Barrett "is engaged, he's conversational."
Barrett was elected Milwaukee mayor in 2004 and re-elected last year with nearly 80 percent of the vote. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1992 to 2002. His name also has begun circulating as a possible Democratic candidate for governor in 2010 after Doyle scheduled a news conference for Monday, reportedly to announce he will not seek a third term.