Police on Sunday identified the man killed outside the Mineshaft bar Friday night as Christopher Finley, a 28-year-old Long Beach resident.
Finley was a familiar face at the Mineshaft, the bar’s co-owner, Jeff Darling, said. Darling described Finley as a “semi-frequent” customer whom staff knew well enough to recognize by face but not by name.
Police said Finley and another man were stabbed outside the bar shortly after 11:30 p.m. Friday, and Finley later died at the hospital.
Darling was not at the Mineshaft Friday night, but he said his manager told him that Finley and the other man were standing on the sidewalk near the bar when a third man rode by on a bicycle.
The man on the bicycle never came into the Mineshaft, Darling said. But there was a “small argument” between him and Finley and the other victim before the stabbing, Darling said. It’s not clear how the argument started or why it escalated into a stabbing, but a police spokesman said it appeared the two victims were trying to get a man to move along from the front of the bar at 1720 E. Broadway when he attacked.
“After they were stabbed, they ended up in our doorway,” Darling said. “It appears to be a horrible random act.”
Darling also said that five minutes prior to the stabbing, his staff ejected a customer who brandished a taser. Darling said police detained the man with the taser but did not arrest him.
It’s unknown if that man had anything to do with the subsequent stabbing.
“The investigation to determine his involvement, if any, is ongoing,” LBPD spokesperson Allison Gallagher said.
The Mineshaft is a well-known LGBTQ bar, and Darling said he wanted it to be safe for members of that community. He said he asked police if the stabbing might be a hate crime.
According to the LBPD, it’s not being treated as such. The motive remains under investigation.
Darling said the incident was a “very traumatic thing” for his employees and he was planning to put together a vigil for Finley and the other stabbing victim.