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FOUND Hotel Employee Charged With Stabbing Guest Due To Appear In Court

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An employee accused of stabbing a guest at a River North hotel earlier this month was set to appear in court on Monday.

Joel Brown, 27, is charged with attempted murder in the Sept. 16 attack at the FOUND Hotel Chicago, 613 N. Wells St.

A video recording from the hotel does not show the stabbing, but does show Brown getting aggressive and throwing luggage around.

Witnesses said they saw him stab a guest after a fight over a room booking while he was working at the front desk.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported at the time, a group traveled to Chicago for a getaway on Sept. 16, and planned to stay at the FOUND Hotel, where they said they had reservations. But when they arrived, things got ugly and violent.

Hours later, suitcases sat on the sidewalk outside the hotel. The bags belonged to a distraught woman who was seen standing inside police tape, who sometime earlier had been told by an employee of the hotel to, "Get the f**k out."

Brown is accused of threatening the woman in the lobby with a knife, after he had already allegedly stabbed her fiancé as they tried checking in.

"The receptionist was just very aggressive," said a woman who was with the group. "I think we had thought we booked what we thought was a hostel. We booked what we thought was one room for all of us. He said it wasn't on his end, and it escalated from there."

The woman with the group said the employee and her friend exchanged words first.

"The next thing I know, they're swinging at each other entangled," she said.

The video does not show the fight, but it does show Brown – clad in a red shirt – waving a knife after witnesses said he lost the tussle.

CBS 2 was there when police escorted the same employee in the red shirt from his job - this time in handcuffs.

"He was screaming at them to the get the F out. He don't want to accommodate them," said another woman who was in the lobby, "and then he pulled out a knife from behind the from desk and stabbed the guy in the midst of them fighting."

The witness said the worker was enraged and showed no signs of dropping the knife.

Terry: "Once he stabs the person checking in, what else does he do?

Witness: "He just waving the knife like he wanted to stab everybody, and we all just ran."

Those in the lobby at the time included the man who was stabbed in his side. He stumbled onto the sidewalk on Wells Street near Ontario Street.

Meanwhile, as for Brown, the witness said: "He wouldn't stop screaming. He wouldn't stop yelling. He still was throwing things. So I ran upstairs to the second floor and locked myself in an empty room."

Brown did not run. In fact, he got back behind the front desk and only left the hotel when police arrested him.

According to published reports, Brown's attorneys have said he was defending himself when he stabbed the guest, who is a New York City firefighter.

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