Indianapolis police investigate death of 31-year-old Carmel man after fight at downtown club

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 17, 2015) - Indianapolis Metropolitan police say a 31-year-old Carmel man died following an altercation at a downtown club late Friday.

Officers were called to a report of a fight at the Chatterbox Jazz Club in the 400 block of Massachusetts Avenue just before midnight.

According to a police report, the suspect had left the building and the victim was not breathing on the floor.  Medics were able to restart his heart and took him to IU Health Methodist Hospital.  The victim was identified as Michael Lanter, 31, Carmel.

Police say Lanter was involved in a fight with another individual, struck his head, and fell. In an update from police Sunday, Lanter later died.

"It appears that some words were exchanged. The victim, he was struck. I don’t know if he lost his footing because of his level of intoxication. He struck his head and may have suffered from those injuries," said IMPD Officer Chris Wilburn.

Witnesses told police Lanter was intoxicated and refused to pay the cover charge at the door. They said he walked inside the bar and a fight ensued between him and other customers.

Lanter's family released the following statement through an attorney:

"Michael Lanter's family continues to grieve the loss of Michael and requests that the public respect their privacy during this difficult time. The family remains focused on organizing funeral arrangements and church services for Michael. Until the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department completes its investigation into the unprovoked attack on Michael, the family will not have any further comment."

“Sorry for this incident having occurred and we extended our condolences to the family and friends," said Chatterbox Owner, David Andrichik.

Detectives say they are continuing to talk to patrons and bar employees.

Downtown residents who frequent Mass Ave. said the bar is known for being  "chill" atmosphere with live music.

“This being an extremely rare occurrence, only once in over 30 years. Our music builds our reputation and our cozy atmosphere and our staff," said Andrichik.

Police are reluctant to call the death a homicide until the Coroner's Office makes a decision.

An autopsy is pending along with the cause and manner of death.

A Chatterbox employee gave Lanter CPR before medical personnel transported him to the hospital.

Police are looking for potential witnesses to the fight. If you know anything, you're encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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