Family Speaks on Yankees Fan Assaulted At Camden Yards

Man, 25, released from Shock Trauma, undergoing rehab

 UPDATED 1:59 PM EDT Jun 18, 2013

The family of a life-long Yankees fan, who was seriously injured in an assault, allegedly by two Orioles fans at Camden Yards spoke out Monday. Matt Fortese, 25, of Hagerstown, was released from Shock Trauma and is undergoing rehab after he suffered severe head trauma and a skull fracture. It happened in May during an Orioles-Nationals game at Camden Yards. Two Oriole fans are accused of taunting Fortese for wearing a Yankees hat. The heckling escalated into a fight. A support group made up of Fortese’s family, friends business people and lawyers organized a response to the assault. “This kind of behavior at sporting matches has no place. It is outrageous. It ruins lives. It’s irresponsible. It’s not what sportsmanship and games are all about,” lawyer Andrew Alperstein said. They are making a public plea for witnesses to call a tip line 410-605-2976 and they’re seeking donations to help pay for Fortese’s medical expenses. Octavia Boutique is dedicating a portion of their sales to Fortese’s recovery. They are even providing donation boxes at their Cross Keys store. “We are imploring other merchants to do the same thing,” Betsy Wendell said. After an hour of heckling about the Yankees hat, 21-year-old Michael Bell, of Annapolis, and 22-year-old Gregory Fleishman, of Jarrettsville, allegedly threw a beer that struck Fortese and his date Taylor Queen. According to charging documents, Fortese responded by climbing a wall next to the hecklers seats. An argument broke out and one of the assailants punched Fortese with his fist on the side of his head sending him over a railing onto the concrete, five feet below. Nathan Steelman, an off-duty state trooper and childhood friend of Fortese, rushed over to help. Fortese wasn’t breathing, suffering a gash to the back of his head and was also bleeding from his nose and ears. Steelman, an Iraq War veteran, removed a wad of chewing tobacco that blocked his airway, Fortese then drew a breath. While that was going on, according to police charging documents, one or more individuals were actually spitting on Matt and the trooper,” Alperstein said. Fortese was rushed to Shock Trauma and is in rehab. “Matt is working with a speech therapist and physical therapist and occupational therapist,” University of Maryland Medical Center surgeon Dr. Jason Pasley said. “He’s starting to understand things a little more, starting to ask more questions, starting to recognize people, but then in the next breath he could say something totally off the way that doesn’t make any sense,” Fortese said. Gleischman and Bell are charged in the attack. Fleischman faces first- and second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. Bell has to answer second-degree assault and disorderly conduct charges. Both have been released on $50,000 bail.

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