Store manager arrested for assault with baseball bat

A manager in Frederick, Maryland was arrested Saturday after police say he used a baseball bat to assault a group of people he believed stole his cigarettes.

Frederick police say that they responded to the 500 block of West South Street after receiving multiple calls of a fight in progress involving a baseball bat.

Officers learned that the fight started when the manager of a nearby business observed four patrons take a pack of cigarettes he had left on top of a picnic table outside. The manager, identified as Ali Gohar Lal, said he confronted the group, who returned the cigarettes, but then went back inside to retrieve a baseball bat he kept inside the business for self defense. Lal said he had swung the bat but did not believe he hit anyone. Lal claimed self-defense after he and an employee had been assaulted.

One of the four patrons claimed to have been struck in the forearm by the bat after backing away and falling down, and was observed to have an injury consistent with that claim. Also, a witness who refused to be identified supported this version of the story.

An employee of the business claimed to have been punched in the face by one of the patrons and was referred to a District Court Commissioner for charges.

One of the four patrons who was detained nearby was found with a minor leg injury he received while fleeing from the scene. EMS responded to offer medical assistance to all injured parties.

Lal was arrested and taken to the FCADC, where he was charged with first and second degree assault.