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Lancaster mayor involved in gym scuffle

September 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
What began at the gym may end in the courts: a bitter shoving match between the mayor of Lancaster and a former candidate for city council. The standoff is now being marked by both charges and counter-charges.David Abber, who lost the bid for a city council seat in the city of Lancaster in the last election, says while he's made it publicly clear that he disagrees with the way Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris runs the city, he never thought it would boil over to a physical and verbal confrontation with the mayor at a 24 Hour Fitness gym in Lancaster Tuesday morning.

"I was standing over by the racquetball courts waiting to play a match against my friend, the mayor walked up to me, leaned in and said 'F you' to me, shoved me, and assumed a combative fighting martial arts stance," said Abber.

Abber filed battery charges against the mayor

"And I don't believe in the history a mayor has ever attacked a citizen like this," said Parris.

Parris has filed counter-charges against Abber

"Mr. Abber has been stalking me now for about two and a half years," said Parris. "His complaint first started, he applied for one of the commissions. I looked at his criminal history and it was an extensive criminal history, so I refused to interview him for the position, and that's what started the process."

In early 2000 Abber was convicted of stalking his ex-girlfriend.

Parris says given the stalking conviction, he doesn't take Abber lightly. The mayor says his bodyguard is on her honeymoon, so in the gym on Tuesday morning he was alone and felt threatened by Abber.

"I am at the gym by myself, and next thing I know he's up behind me, and he's pulling on my shoulder, and I turn around and the problem was I couldn't hear him, because I had my earphones on, and I'm hearing-impaired to begin with, and he got progressively more agitated, and seemed to be not the most stable person, and I've been warned he's mentally unstable, you know, I'm not the first person he's stalked. When I thought he was going to hit me, I pushed him away," said Parris.

"Twenty-four-hour Fitness has good surveillance and there was a videotape during that time. I can't tell you how much of the incident that's depicted on the videotape," said L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. Don Downton.

Detectives say they are looking to speak to potential witnesses. Abber claims he never stalked the mayor. Parris says he plans to file a restraining order against Abber.


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