Business Owner Describes Terrifying Ordeal After Teen Attack

For the first time since he was viciously attacked by a group of teenagers, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire, business owner is speaking out about the terrifying ordeal.

Sean Sullivan was closing up shop at the Clipper Tavern early Sunday morning, when he saw some kids messing around with the rubble of the State Street Saloon. That’s when things took an unexpected turn.

“I was just amazed that he got aggressive so quick,” Sullivan said.

With a concussion and bleeding on his brain, Sullivan has been resting in a dark room, battling migraines for the last week. Friday, he finally felt well enough to talk about the brutal attack that put him in this position.

“I saw some individuals messing with barricades around remains of State Street Saloon,” Sullivan recalled. “I just spoke up for them to knock it off.”

Sullivan says one of the teens charged him.

“I didn’t realize he had a weapon until it was yelled out, ‘knife’” Sullivan said.

That’s about all he can remember. He ended up unconscious on the sidewalk. Police arrested three of the four teenagers minutes later.

“It was just nonsense what they were doing, there was no reason for them to be there,” he said.

Sullivan and Jeff Goss opened the Clipper Tavern just days before the State Street Saloon was destroyed by fire on April 10.

As a lifelong Portsmouth resident, Goss explains why Sullivan’s actions mean so much to this city.

“To those kids it might be a pile of rubble, but to thousands of others, that’s a lot of memories and a lot of history in that building,” Goss said. “He wasn’t going to let a few 16 and 17-year-old kids take that away.”

Sullivan says the brutal attack has actually brought out the best in his neighbors.

“The support’s been overwhelming from across the country, from people I don’t know,” he said. “If anything, it’s reinforced how special it is to live here.”

Sullivan is hoping to be back to work sometime next week. 

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