ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – A police investigation is underway into a bar fight that happened nearly three weeks ago at WMC North Restaurant & Jazz Club, allegedly involving 5th District City Councilman Tory Kitching. 18 News reporter Nicolas Dubina spoke to a witness who says Mr. Kitching assaulted the bar owner after an argument. 18 News also confirmed with Mayor Dan Mandell that Mr. Kitching will not be running for re-election this year.

“The guy came in, he said something about ordering food, and he never looked at the menu. He just started threatening and getting real aggressive and he was told to leave,” said Eric Newcomb. “He seemed like he was drunk or something. He was told to leave, and he decided to fight instead of leaving, so we got physical.”

“What set him off?” asked Dubina.

“I don’t know. He just kept repeating himself and he just kept getting more and more aggressive. When he was told to leave, he stood up and grabbed the owner and it was on. I grabbed him and tried to pull them apart, and then we went to the ground” said Newcomb.

“Afterwards, were you able to extricate him from the establishment, what happened next?” asked Dubina.

“Yeah, he left. It was probably overwhelming for him or something that didn’t go as he planned or whatever. I don’t know what was going on,” said Newcomb.

18 News submitted a Freedom of Information request for the police report that was filed. The request was denied, citing an “open/pending case.” In an email to 18 News, Elmira Police Chief Kristen Thorne confirmed there was an “altercation which had occurred on Saturday February 18th around 4:45 p.m. at WMC North restaurant involving a city councilman.”

18 News spoke to Mr. Kitching in person Friday and asked him about the incident at WMC North. Mr. Kitching declined to comment. We also asked Mr. Kitching if he will be running for re-election this year for the 5th district seat, but he also declined to comment.

Mayor Dan Mandell, who is also the head of the Elmira City Republican Committee, told 18 News Mr. Kitching would not be running for re-election this year, but for a different reason.

“First of all, the incident, I heard something about it. I don’t know any facts behind it. I know it’s under investigation. That’s all I know,” said Mayor Mandell. “As far as him running, he made that decision before the alleged incident took place. He made a decision a few weeks ago. I had reached out to him. Initially he was going to run. But then about two weeks before petitions came out, I contacted him again and he said, look, I’ve got too much going on. I got my job and my family at this time. I’m not going to run. So that was his decision not to run at that time”

Dubina asked, “Again, just to clarify, this is prior to the incident in question with Mr. Kitching?”

“That is correct. The incident has nothing to do with him not running,” said Mayor Mandell.

The owner of WMC North, Kaylen Knox, said his attorney is advising him not to comment at this time. Security cameras were rolling inside the bar when the incident happened. The video has not been made public.