DARIEN, N.Y. (WIVB) - An Alden native and married father of two girls was brutally beaten at last Friday's Kid Rock concert at Darien Lake.
Jason McNeil, who now lives and works in the state of Alabama, was repeatedly hit and knocked unconscious. He has been in a coma since the assault. Friends and family say, it was an unprovoked attack and a case of mistaken identity.
Erin Treadwell does public relations for United Cerebral Palsy of West Alabama, one of several community organizations McNeil is involved with.
"I thought it was some kind of really terrible prank e-mail, to begin with," she said. "Jason's one of those dream board members that everybody wants to have on their side. He's always going out and helping in any way he can, whether it's volunteering at an event, showing up at one of our fundraisers."
An investigator with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office says McNeil and the suspect, 34-year-old Craig Lawson of Ontario, Canada, got into some kind of altercation during the concert and were separated.
In a statement, Darien Lake General Manager Bob Montgomery says the assault happened inside the Performing Arts Center. Live Nation security officers, Sheriff's deputies and medical personnel responded.
McNeil remains in critical condition at ECMC. Lawson has been charged with third degree assault. He posted bail and is due back in court July 30.
McNeil's friends and family say he'll need months of rehab to recover from the attack. They have set up an online donation fund. In just one day, they've raised over $16,000. McNeil has been the sole provider for his wife and daughters.
Treadwell said, "I've seen him interact with his children, and he's just such a family guy. All around, really good guy. And it's so terrible that this has happened to him."
His sister-in-law tells News 4 the family is grateful for the support they're receiving. She adds they feel helpless, but not hopeless.
"Just keep him in your prayers, that he wakes up from the coma. Because the doctors really did say that it's up to him, at this point, to wake up," Treadwell said.
If you would like to follow McNeil's progress, his family and friends have set up a Facebook page to keep everyone abreast of his condition.
Bob Montgomery, General Manager of Darien Lake, released the following statement:
"At the conclusion of the Kid Rock concert on July 5th, two men had an altercation during which one was struck in the head and was rendered unconscious. The incident occurred inside the Performing Arts Center, which is operated and managed by Live Nation.
"Live Nation security and medical personnel, as well as the Genesee County Sheriff's Department, responded. The unconscious man was taken to Erie County Medical Center where he is currently being treated."
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