NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - "Well, a lot of the swelling in my face has gone down, as you can see. I was pretty swollen,” says Mark Whittaker Allen.
Colorado tourist Mark Whittaker Allen says he’s recovering from a brutal attack that left him unconscious near St. Charles and Canal Street last weekend (Feb. 10).
“I had a bone graph put in on the front two teeth, and they are watching a third one that I might lose. What happened was when I hit the concrete, all of my teeth busted out of the bone,” says Allen.
Allen, his girlfriend Gabbie Lee, and two other friends were celebrating Allen’s 30th birthday in New Orleans. They say they noticed a party bus parked near St. Charles and Canal Street with what appeared to be a group of teenagers on board. They say the bus passengers were harassing a homeless woman.
“Then, when our friend walked closer to the bus to stand up for this lady, we continued watching. I don’t know what the argument was about,” says Lee.
They say the passengers got off the bus and from there, the situation escalated.
“We all started walking away and they continued pursuing us,” says Lee.
“He came up behind me and punched me, and I guess hit me on the side of the head. I fell face first on to the concrete, and that knocked me out,” says Allen.
Police now say 18-year-old Mark Gregory Hunter turned himself in for the alleged attack. Investigators believe Hunter is the man who punched Allen.
A couple of weeks before the alleged attack, State Troopers arrested Hunter for participating in what are known as “ride outs” on the Interstate. According to court paperwork, Hunter was seen on video “standing on his four wheeler ATV, blocking Interstate 10 Westbound.”
Hunter was booked with a felony and released on a $3,500 bond. Now, he’s booked with second-degree battery.
Allen and Lee are glad the NOPD investigated the alleged attack.
“I think that he deserves to get punishment. I think that Whit deserves restitution,” says Lee.
“I think it’s really important for your city itself. When we were walking around talking to people, they said this actually happens more often in your city than they want it to. If you want tourists to come and spend their money down there, these kinds of things can’t happen,” says Allen.