PROVINCETOWN — The 80-year-old owner of George’s Pizza, who was punched in the face Saturday night by an allegedly unruly customer, still had ringing in his ears days later, according to his daughter, Francine Kraniotakis.
Angel Gomez, 27, of Springfield was arraigned on June 29 on charges of assault and battery on an elderly person, furnishing false identification to a police office, and disorderly conduct. Though his bail was set at $2,500, he was being held Tuesday pending a decision on his probation status in Springfield. Gomez was also ordered to stay away from the victim.
The assault, which occurred at 9:27 p.m., touched a nerve in a town already tense because of new coronavirus rules imposed on tourists.
The police report did not mention masks as part of the conflict. Gomez and his companions came into George’s Pizza with open bottles of beer, which led to the first reprimand from George’s staff, Kraniotakis said Tuesday.
Tensions escalated when the bartender told Gomez and his friends to put on masks inside the pizza restaurant, she added.
George Kraniotakis, 80, who was walking through the restaurant, told Gomez, “If you don’t like it, leave,” Francine said. “That’s when he punched my dad in the face. It’s disgusting.”
Later in the evening, she added, an employee of George’s, Andrew Chartier, who had chased Gomez down to MacMillan Pier before the police arrived, was jumped by Gomez’s friends.
Gomez bit Chartier’s arm prior to his arrest, according to the police report.
Town Manager Robin Craver issued a statement after the incident: “I am shocked and saddened to learn that a respected member of our community and a hard-working member of his staff were victims of assault,” she wrote.
But, she added in a separate email to the Independent, the mask rules were not the primary issue, so much as Gomez’s and friends’ drunk and disorderly behavior.
The town manager plans to begin an “ambassador” program on July 2, with people dressed colorfully or in drag handing out masks and reminding them of social distancing and other rules. —K.C. Myers