Police Arrest Man Accused of Knocking Novelist Unconscious

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    New Haven Police

    An Oxford man turned himself in to police Monday evening, confessing to assaulting a New York author outside Study Hotel in New Haven last week who tried to help the man's wife during a dispute, police said.

    Michael Mott, 35, of Oxford, punched novelist Colum McCann, 49, so hard on June 28 that he lost consciousness and was hospitalized at Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for significant facial injuries, police confirmed. Mott admitted to the crime, but declined to give further details, police said.

    Police and EMTs responded to the Study Hotel at 1157 Chapel Street in New Haven at 10:16 p.m. that night after receiving reports of an assault. McCann spoke with detectives after he was released from the hospital.

    Mott followed McCann outside of the hotel after he tried to intervene in a dispute between Mott and his wife in the lobby, police said. The couple had checked in earlier and when they returned from having drinks out, hotel staff informed them that Mott's credit card didn't  have "sufficient funds to pay for the room," police said. McCann had asked the woman if she needed help and she declined the offer prior to Mott's assault on McCann outside, according to police.

    New Haven Police Chief Dean M. Esserman said that the incident "was a particularly disturbing case because [McCann] was specifically targeted after he tried helping another victim."

    Police charged Mott with second-degree breach of peace due to the reported altercation with his wife and second-degree assault in connection due to the attack on McCann, police said. 

    Esserman thanked Yale University police and the public for their assistance and his officers and detectives for their work on the case. 

    Irish-born writer McCann is a past Oscar nominee and National Book Award winner who has written six novels, including one that he and J.J. Abrams are adapting to a movie, according to his Web site. He lives with his wife and kids in New York, where he teaches in Hunter College's creative writing MFA program. 

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