Punches thrown after cellphone dispute at local restaurant

Christian Dejour Watts, 21, was arrested following an argument over a cellphone on Nov. 15 at a local Raising Cane's restaurant during which an Army veteran and his wife were both struck. (Jail photo)
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Christian Dejour Watts, 21, was free on bond Wednesday after he was arrested following an argument over a cellphone on Nov. 15 at a local Raising Cane's restaurant during which an Army veteran and his wife were both struck.

Watts was charged with two counts of assault causing bodily injury.

He was released from the Bell County Jail on Monday after posting bond.

Officers responded to the incident at the restaurant at 1304 South 31st St. in Temple at around 7 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Scott Crivelli, an Austin attorney who is representing the veteran, Eric Holder, and his wife, says the Temple man and his family were eating at the restaurant when a man approached and asked to use Holder’s cellphone to call for a ride.

Holder agreed and held onto the phone as he allowed the man to place the call using the speaker function, Crivelli said.

After placing the call, Crivelli said, the man asked Holder why he wouldn’t allow him to hold the phone himself.

Holder responded, Crivelli said, by saying, "I don't know you personally, but I was happy to help you call for your ride."

The man left the restaurant and a short time later a second man, who police say was the first man’s brother, entered the restaurant, confronted Holder, made a racist comment and then “threw a punch that struck Eric’s wife on the forehead and connected with Mr. Holder’s jaw, knocking him to the ground,” Crivelli said.

Holder, who has a concealed carry permit, drew his handgun “and repelled the attack," Crivelli said,

Holder and his son-in-law then held the man until police arrived, Crivelli said.

Holder, Crivelli said, suffered a dislocated shoulder in the scrape, several cuts and abrasions and must undergo an MRI before doctors can determine the full extent of his injuries.

His wife was treated for cuts, abrasions and bruises, Crivelli said.

Crivelli says Holder’s family “pleaded with management at the restaurant to call police, but they refused to do so” and said the restaurant’s manager “stated on two occasions during the struggle that he could not help the family because a gun was involved.’

On Thursday Raising Cane’s corporate office issued a statement from Tommy Van Wolfe Raising Cane’s vice president of company restaurants, who said the safety and security of customers and employees is a top priority.

“Once our crew realized the situation, our manager called 911. He ensured other customers left the restaurant quickly and followed procedure by not getting involved in the physical altercation,” he said.

“We cannot imagine how this family felt having been assaulted by a stranger, especially in such a tight-knit community like Temple.