SHARPSBURG (KDKA) – A man is in jail charged with attacking bar patrons with an eight-inch meat cleaver.

The incident happened at Big Pat’s Bar in Sharpsburg.

James “Jimmy Joe” Rulli, 55, had a run-in with another bar patron a week ago.

“We told him we didn’t think it was a good idea for him to go back there,” Sharpsburg Police Chief Leo Rudzki, Jr., said. “Don’t know if he went in there looking for trouble.”

The chief says Rulli was drunk, mouthing off and started a pushing and shoving match.

“That’s when things just got out of hand,” Rudzki said. “He pulled out the meat cleaver and just started wildly swinging at people.”

Rulli had the cleaver in his jacket pocket. One guy got in the way.

“I believe it was minor injuries which is very lucky considering it was a meat cleaver,” Rudzki said.

“I know the meat cleaver they’re talking about,” Donna Phillips, a friend of the suspect, said.

She and Rulli were together for 19 years. She says the meat cleaver was a gift because Rulli likes cooking, but recently, mental and physical health issues have escalated.

“He’s a good person, he’s a good man,” Phillips said. “He just has a lot of issues. You know, he carries a lot of anger inside of him.”

Rulli remains in the Allegheny County Jail on a long list of charges, including attempted homicide, assault, terroristic threats and public drunkenness.


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