Man in Ga. Dome stabbing claims self-defense

Updated:

James McCoy (left) and his attorney, Mac Pilgrim (right).

ATLANTA - The man involved in a stabbing outside the Georgia Dome after Sunday night’s NFC Championship game says the incident was self-defense.

Georgia World Congress Center spokeswoman Jennifer LeMaster told Channel 2 that 46-year-old James Lewis McCoy, of Villa Rica, was arrested on Tuesday, but McCoy’s attorney disputes that.

A witness initially said the fight was between two fans involved in the game, but Dome officials said that was not the case and that neither of the two attended the game. Investigators said they believe the disagreement started over food at a tailgate.

Channel 2's Eric Philips spoke with McCoy and his attorney Tuesday night. Off camera, McCoy told Philips the fight was not over food, or the game, but he does not know why the fight started. He said he was outside the Dome tailgating and out of nowhere a man pushed him and then punched him.

"He was essentially attacked, unprovoked, attacked by maybe four to five to six men. And Mr. McCoy at some point and time did reach in his pocket and retrieve a small box blade knife that he carries in conjunction with his job, and used that to get the men off of him,” attorney Mac Pilgrim said.

Atlanta police eventually spotted the melee and sprayed pepper spray, allowing McCoy to break free.

Pilgrim said McCoy contacted him hours after the incident and they reached out to authorities the next day.

McCoy and Pilgrim met with Georgia World Congress Center Police on Tuesday. Police said verbally and in a written statement that McCoy had been arrested, but his attorney disagreed.

“He has not been arrested, nor is he under arrest at this time,” Pilgrim said.

Pilgrim said McCoy was given a citation for reckless conduct.

McCoy suffered injuries to his head, neck, shoulders and lower body, Pilgrim said.

The 35-year-old who was slashed in the neck is recovering at Grady Memorial Hospital.

“(McCoy) intended to hurt no one that day, before the game or after the game,” Pilgrim said.

McCoy told Philips he is a 49ers fan, but he did not openly root for them on Sunday because he wanted to avoid trouble.

Police initially said they were looking for two women who may be connected to the stabbing, but there is no word of any arrests involving women.