A 23-year-old Phenix City man died Sunday night following a fight at a local bar, Columbus Police Maj. Gil Slouchick confirmed.
Marquis Brown, who police say was assaulted at the Outlaws Saloon, was pronounced dead at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Columbus Midtown Medical Center, Muscogee County Chief Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley said. He declined to release the cause of death but said Brown's death is being investigated as a homicide.
An autopsy is expected to be conducted within the next couple days, Worley said early Monday morning.
Police said they were called to the 6499 Veterans Parkway bar around 3 a.m. Sunday to check on a "large fight" that occurred in the parking lot.
Slouchick said at least 40 people were in the parking lot when the incident happened between 2:50 and 3 a.m.
Officials said Brown, a father of two girls ages 2 and 3, was injured during the incident and rushed to the hospital, where he later died.
A 22-year-old woman told responding officers that an unknown black man punched her twice during the fight and fled the scene. She had visible swelling on the right side of her face but refused medical treatment, authorities said.
She described her unidentified assailant as a short-hair black man dressed in a black shirt, blue jeans and brown boots.
Slouchick said Monday afternoon that no arrests have been made in the case and police are still trying to contact witnesses. He asked that anyone with any information or video concerning the incident to send it directly to authorities, instead of posting it on social media.
"If you don't have any direct knowledge, don't put it out there," Slouchick said. "If you do have direct knowledge, please call us and let us know."
Nikita Bell, Brown's mother, said she's relying on her faith in God to help her cope with her only son's untimely death.
With so many questions left unanswered, the mother of three is hoping that learning more about what led to Brown's death will give her some peace.
"I'm trying to be strong for my girls and my mom, I have breakdowns and want to be by myself sometimes...," she said. "I'm trying to be strong the best way I know how. I'm lost for words."
Bell said the 23-year-old Shaw High graduate earned a full-ride scholarship to college in San Jose, Calif. He didn't attend college but made the decision Wednesday to join the U.S. Army.
Bell said Brown participated in multiple sports in high school, including soccer and track, but nothing compared to his passion for football, which he started playing at the age of 6.
The mother recalled watching Brown run a 99-yard game-winning touchdown against LaGrange High School as one of her fondest memories of him.
"I enjoyed going to see him play football," she said with a smile.
It's Bell's hope that people will remember Brown for his loving and kind spirit.
"He was helpful person who would do pretty much anything," she said. "He was a friend and brother to a whole lot of people, even to those who weren't his siblings."
Brown's family is accepting donations for his funeral expenses through a GoFundMe page. For those unable to do donate, a simple prayer will do.
"I just ask people just to pray for me and my family, to give us strength," the mother said. "I know there is a God, and God does not make mistakes."
Stay with the Ledger for more on this developing story.
— Sarah is a crime & safety reporter at The Ledger-Enquirer. You can contact her on Twitter at @SarahR_92.