MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A veteran who was out celebrating Veterans Day with friends says he has no idea why a group of strangers viciously attacked him.

Derek Amlie’s classmate, who happens to also be a veteran, invited him out for drinks. They ended up at Gastof’s in northeast Minneapolis, where things took a turn in a direction Amlie never would have expected.

“It happened really fast and out of the blue. Here I am having a conversation with my friends and I start getting blows rained down upon my head,” Amlie said.

Outnumbered and not in a good position to fight, the West Point graduate said his friends tried to jump in.

“They were punching me and stomping on my head once I was on the ground,” he said. “The best you can basically do at that point is cover up.”

According to the police report, at least four men jumped Amlie, leaving him bruised and banged up. There’s a gash under his swollen right eye and scrape marks up his left cheek.

“Police officers think the scrapes may have been there from someone stomping my head with a boot while I was on the ground,” he explained. “I also had a nice big hole in my lip. There are five stiches on the inside of my mouth. I bled all over my clothes.”

The bouncers helped Amlie out of the bar, but Derek said they didn’t do much else. The attackers had ran away before officers arrived.

“For a Saturday night, you would have to think there had eight or so bouncers in the bar,” said Amlie. “They didn’t detain any of the guys and that kind of boggles my mind how that could happen.”

Since getting out of the hospital Sunday morning, Amlie has been trying to figure out why he was targeted.

“That’s the thing, I have no inkling. I would have an idea if perhaps I had talked with some girls, danced with some girls, or talked some smack. I did none of those. I completely minded my own business. The only three people I talked to the whole time I was in there were the two friends I came in with and the bartender to ask for a beer. I’m just completely dumbfounded as to why those guys would do this, but it was pretty malicious,” said Amlie.

Amlie graduated from Mounds View High School in 2002 and went on to graduate from West Point. While in the Army, he was stationed in Hawaii serving in the medical service corps. He credits his training with helping keep him safe.

“I just remember thinking ‘what the heck is going on,’” he said. “Then, I immediately realized this was a large number of guys, not just one or two. I wasn’t in a position to fight back. I think it shows a tremendous amount of cowardice to sucker punch someone in the first place and when you sucker punch someone with six other guys in a coordinated attack — that shows a whole new level of cowardice.”

Gastof’s has not yet responded to inquiries.

The attackers would likely face charges if caught. You’re asked to call police if you have any information on who they may be.

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