NEW BEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - A local community is mourning the loss of a man killed in a deadly altercation outside a Philadelphia bar.
Disturbing video of the incident shows 41-year-old New Bedford native Eric Pope dancing in the street outside a bar two weeks ago before he is punched in the head by a bouncer. Pope, then hits his head on the ground and is knocked unconscious.
He was rushed to the hospital and put on life support but succumbed to his injuries on Saturday.
“If you ever met a human being who showed nothing but love, it was Eric,” said family friend Kathy Dehner. “His heart is in this city. I know that.”
Dehner said Pope started his career as New Bedford’s youngest School Committee Member before moving on to work for the Obama administration and later, the Federal Reserve.
However, many say it is clear that the mark he left on his hometown is indelible.
“He was always looking to better the community; anything that he could do to help,” said Dehner.
Josh Amaral also served on the School Committee — following in Pope’s footsteps.
“I hope he’s remembered in New Bedford as a champion for young people,” he said. “We’ve had other elected officials over the years that have run for office at ages younger than you would have expected. And I think a lot of that’s a credit to Eric.”
Those who knew him said they are devastated by his death — as is the Philidelphia District Attorney.
He said Pope was escorted out of the bar for being intoxicated but, that did not justify what came next.
“That could be anyone’s son. I mean he- yeah, was drunk. It looked like he was having a good time. He wasn’t being abusive or anything. He was just dancing on the street,” said DA Larry Krasner.
The bouncer who punched Pope is now being charged with third-degree murder.
“Every person that Eric touched is gonna feel the void,” said family friend Kathy Dehner. “He meant that much to all of us.”
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