Police: City man assaulted friend

Suspect allegedly stripped naked in holding cell

A city man is in jail after police say he attacked a friend after a night of drinking.

Michael J. Burkey, 36, of Altoona was arrested early Thursday after he allegedly pushed his way in through a friend’s door after drinking alcohol.

According to Altoona police, officers responded to the 1300 block of 14th Avenue about 4 a.m. Thursday and found Burkey sitting on the curb outside the house. He was shirtless, speckled with blood and had small cuts and scratches on his body and hands.

On the porch of the home was the alleged victim, bleeding from a cut on his head, who told police he had invited Burkey over that night and the two men drank about 15 beers between the two of them over the course of three hours.

At one point in the evening, Burkey became enraged at something the alleged victim said. The alleged victim told police it was something trivial and that he didn’t remember exactly what was said, but after a short but heated argument, Burkey calmed down and the two played video games for an hour or two before Burkey finally left.

Police said Burkey returned a couple of minutes later, opened the front door and told the man he was going to kill him. Because the house was dark, the alleged victim didn’t realize it was Burkey until after Burkey ran at him and tackled him on the living room floor. The man told police he was struck about the head and body and fearing for his life, he fought back.

At one point, the man said he felt a thumb in his eye socket. The man grabbed Burkey’s wrist and pulled his hand down and bit his thumb.

That was just enough of a distraction to give the man a chance to stand up and push his attacker outside. It was then he realized it was Burkey, police said.

Police said the alleged victim was so shocked to see it was his friend that it gave Burkey a chance to push the man back inside the house.

The man told police he started to yell for help as he fought off Burkey, and after he managed to get him back outside, the two wrestled to a standstill until Burkey ran out to the curb and the alleged victim collapsed on the porch.

Police said Burkey appeared extremely intoxicated and refused to tell officers what happened. After he was taken into custody, Burkey allegedly stripped naked in his holding cell at the Altoona Police Department and covered the cameras with his clothes.

Police said Burkey beat on the cell door with his fists and threatened to fight officers when they came to get him out of the cell.

Burkey then allegedly masturbated on himself in an attempt to make it even more unpleasant for officers, police noted.

Burkey eventually put his clothes back on, although he continued to resist being transported by throwing himself onto the floor. Police noted Burkey was forced to his feet eventually and booked on charges that include felony burglary and aggravated assault along with misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and simple assault.

Burkey was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Andrew Blattenberger and lodged in Blair County Prison in lieu of $60,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at Central Court.

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