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Search is on for suspected finger biter

September 4, 2009 7:50:54 PM PDT
The search is on for the man suspected of biting another man's finger off during an altercation that occurred Thursday. The 911 call is chilling. Detectives sent the recording to Eyewitness News Friday including the video of the man they want to talk to involved in that finger biting incident.

They also released still photos of that man and the victim at the pro-healthcare reform demonstration in Thousand Oaks two nights ago where that violence took place.

Ventura County sheriff's detectives released video showing a man dressed in shorts and all black leaving the scene of the violent brawl at a demonstration mainly attended by those supporting healthcare reform.

The man in black allegedly bit off a part of the left pinky finger of 65-year-old William Rice, after the two exchanged heated words at the rally which led to the violence.

A witness at the scene of the rally called 911.

"There has been an altercation at the corner of Lynn and Hillcrest ? A gentleman's finger has been bitten off and I have the finger in my, wrapped up in a napkin, and I'm trying to find out where the gentleman went to the hospital, so that we can get his finger sewn back on?I could see the blood it was, it was squirting, it was dripping blood, it wasn't squirting blood. And I was like it must be around here somewhere. Unless the gentleman swallowed it," says the caller, who wouldn't identify himself.

Fox News has talked to 65 year old William Rice, who describes in his words how the violence unfolded.

"He came at me, calling me an idiot, and whenever he came close within my range, I threw a punch. I threw a second punch and my fist ended up in his mouth. He bit my pinky finger off. I can't look into the man's heart or into his mind. My finger was in his mouth and when it came out I didn't have a finger, that's all I know," said Rice.

Detectives want to talk to the man in black to get his side of the story. They say witnesses have different accounts of what sparked the bloody confrontation.

"We have people saying Mr. Rice went across the street and engaged in conversation or argument with people on the north side of the street," says detective Eric Bushow of Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

"We have people who are saying that the biter, if you will, the suspect came across the street and confronted him," Bushow says of the diverging testimonies.

Detectives want to hear from the man seen in the video, and they are urging him to call the Ventura County Sheriff's Department at (805) 494-8201.

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