SOUTH HAVEN — A Fennville man who was struck in the head with a club multiple times Monday night in South Haven had been involved in an ongoing dispute with the four men arrested in connection with his beating, police said.
Charles Flanner, 38, was listed in critical condition Tuesday at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, said Tom Martin, acting chief of the South Haven Police Department.
Flanner was found lying unconscious in the parking lot of the Phoenix Square shopping plaza, in the 1200 block of Phoenix Street, by South Haven police officers who responded at 8:30 p.m. to a report of an assault. He was taken to South Haven Community Hospital and then flown to Kalamazoo.
Witnesses told police Flanner was beaten by four men and that during the assault one of the suspects struck Flanner in the head with a club. The witnesses were able to give police descriptions of the suspects and a license plate number that officers used to track down the vehicle’s owner, who was arrested in connection with the assault.
The other three suspects ran from police after they were tracked down, police said. Two of the men were later found by officers and the third eventually turned himself in.
Martin said Flanner and the four men were acquaintances and had been involved in a dispute “over the last several days.”
The suspects, ages 18, 21, 22 and 24, were each being held Tuesday in the Van Buren County Jail on a charge of assault with intent to commit murder, pending their court arraignments.
Martin declined to say what the root of the dispute was. He said three of suspects men are from the South Haven area and another is from the Grand Junction area.
Martin said police believe that Flanner was struck in the head with the club multiple times and that at least two of the men used the club to assault Flanner.
“I think it started out as a fist fight and then the weapon was used,” the acting chief said.