The man claiming that his ear was bitten by his roommate early Monday morning grimaces at the door of his Amber Street home.
By Elizabeth Behrman / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Concerns about immigration status led to an early-morning argument between roommates that escalated into a fight during which one man's ear was bitten off Monday.
Salatiel Marcos Ortiz, 30, said he returned to his East Liberty apartment around 2:30 a.m. today and his roommate, who has not been identified, immediately became confrontational. Both men are from Mexico, Mr. Ortiz said, and his roommate was afraid that he would be deported under President Donald Trump's immigration policies. The roommate is in the U.S. legally, he said.
His roommate had been watching Mr. Trump on television and drinking beer, Mr. Ortiz said.
The other man attacked, breaking Mr. Ortiz' finger and biting off a piece of his ear. Mr. Ortiz said his roommate threatened to get a knife and kill him before he managed to escape their Amber Street apartment and run to a nearby Shell gas station for help.
"Anytime he is drinking beer, he is going crazy," Mr. Ortiz said.
Pittsburgh police arrived at the gas station on Baum Boulevard around 6:45 a.m. Mr. Ortiz was taken to UPMC Presbyterian. Officers went to the apartment, where they found the piece Mr. Ortiz' ear, but no sign of the roommate, authorities said.
Mr. Ortiz returned from the hospital Monday afternoon with his finger in a cast and a bandage over his ear, which had been stitched back together.
Police are still searching for the roommate, investigators said.