Tempe bar manager brutally assaulted by customer, leaving her with a brain bleed

Tiffany Albrecht is a bartender in Tempe, and Saturday night was almost her last shift after a man nearly killed her by knocking her unconscious.
Published: Jul. 3, 2023 at 6:15 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A general manager of a Tempe bar and grill was brutally struck in the head while trying to close-up shop. Police have a man behind bars who they say assaulted her at the Five Star Dive Bar & Grill so badly he left her with a brain bleed.

Tiffany Albrecht is a manager in Tempe and is on the road to recovery. Her shift last Saturday night was almost her last shift after a man nearly killed her by knocking her unconscious. “This is a matter of life or death. She will die if we don’t stop this brain bleed,” Albrecht recalled hospital medical staff saying.

She has been a bartender for more than 20 years. She says Saturday’s closing shift started like any other. “The night was going very well. We had live music that night,” she said. Until it hit closing time at 2 a.m. when one guest, identified by police as Ryan McElhannon, refused to leave.

“He didn’t seem drunk. He just seemed entitled and angry,” she said. Albrecht tried to talk to McElhannon, but when she approached, he swung his arm and hit Albrecht in the head. “The whole reason why I got such a massive brain bleed was because I got knocked out and couldn’t catch myself before I hit the ground,” she said. McElhannon knocked Albrecht out in one motion and then immediately left the bar with Albrecht still unconscious.

“Right when we got to the emergency room, they did a CT scan and within minutes, they swarmed around me and said we have to have an operation right now,” she said. She was rushed to Banner Desert Medical Center, just minutes away, where they performed life-saving surgery. “The doctors said, ‘how did you know to come here? If you didn’t come here you wouldn’t be alive, because there isn’t a neurosurgeon everywhere at 3 o’clock in the morning,’” she recalled.

McElhannon was arrested days later by Tempe police and charged with aggravated assault. After the incident, police said he texted a woman he met at the bar this message:

I don’t care if i go to jail…that B**** is lucky I open hand slapped her and didn’t break her F****** jaw. Anyway, it was nice talking to you. sorry it ended this way.

Ryan McElhannon

“It made me sick to my stomach,” Albrecht said. “It was not only just bragging about it. It was calling me names. Like what kind of person are you? I’ve never seen such evil in my life.” For Albrecht, she says the road to recovery will be long.

Friends and family are rallying support through a benefit concert this Saturday. “They’re throwing it and having this event for me. They are very, very sweet people,” she said. If you’d like to go to the concert or donate toward her medical costs, you can find more information on the concert’s Facebook page, Tiffany’s 5 Star Benefit Concert! or on the GoFundMe page.

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