AUSTIN (KXAN) - An Austin Fire Department lieutenant was suspended indefinitely after threatening a man with a knife during a fight, according to memo from the department.
Lt. Matthew Bunch was charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct following a May 27 altercation at Lake Georgetown. Bunch became upset after two men made a comment about a song that was playing on his radio and approached them, pulling out a knife at one point, according to Georgetown police and witnesses at the scene.
"I will cut your jugular and watch you bleed out," Bunch allegedly said to one of the men while pointing the knife at him.
"The threat to cause serious bodily injury or death by using a deadly weapon constitutes the felony of aggravated assault," Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr said in the memo, "regardless of whether or not Lt. Bunch was charged by the Georgetown Police with that crime."
Bunch eventually threw the knife down and engaged in a fist fight with one of the men, the memo said. Bunch was knocked to the ground and received injuries to his face and head that required medical attention.
The public intoxication, disorderly conduct and assault were are all in violation of the department's code of conduct.
In a meeting with the Professional Standards Office, Bunch admitted to being short tempered and having a 'big mouth.' He also said he "has been a fighter most of his life, been involved in an innumerable number of fights, and has been victorious in 80-85 percent of them."
The admission raised a red flag to department officials.
"These personality characteristics are extremely disconcerting for a member of the fire department who lives and works in close proximity with others," Kerr said.
After reviewing the information and considering the recommendation of Bunch's chain of command, the suspension was handed down.
"Lt. Bunch has failed to take responsibilities for his drunken, obnoxious, criminal behavior," Kerr added. "He denies that he was intoxicated, which was confirmed by witnesses and the police. He also claims he had the full use of his mental and physical faculties, which the evidence proves he did not."
His suspension went into effect Sept. 10. Bunch can appeal the suspension within 10 days.
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