Friends are mourning a San Diego man who died over the weekend after playing a dangerous game at a downtown bar in which he and a friend repeatedly exchanged punches.
Corey Poole, 27, died early Saturday morning. He had been enjoying a night out with friends at Jolt'n Joe's Gaslamp bar on Fourth Avenue when the night took a tragic turn.
At the bar, Poole had been playing a "punching game" with a friend. The men took turns mutually hitting one another in the chest. After receiving multiple punches, Poole collapsed.
San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Lt. Matt Dobbs said officers were called to the bar just before 1 a.m. Saturday to help Poole. When police arrived, he was unresponsive. Bystanders were giving him CPR, but he wasn't moving.
Poole was taken to a local hospital. He couldn’t be revived and was pronounced dead at 1:45 a.m. Saturday, the SDPD confirmed.
The friend who played the punching game Poole remained at the bar. He too was taken to a hospital for treatment. SDPD homicide detectives interviewed him over the weekend; at this point, no charges have been filed against him in Poole's death.
Both Poole and the friend involved in the deadly game were regular patrons at the Jolt'n Joe's Gaslamp bar.
On Monday, some of Poole’s friends, including Christian Cook, gathered at the bar to mourn Poole and remember better times with him.
Cook said he’s still processing the sudden death of his best friend.
"I really don’t want to drive my car around because I still reach over to the open the door for him – though, he’s not here," Cook told NBC 7.
Cook described Poole as a loyal and selfless friend who would do anything and give anything to help someone else.
He said Poole had moved to San Diego approximately three years ago from Scottsdale, Arizona, and was working as a cook at several restaurants in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter.
Poole had dreams of one day opening his own pizzeria, Cook said.
"I won’t let our dreams go undone," Cook said. "I’ll do it for both of us – whatever it takes."
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s (ME) Office will perform an autopsy on Poole to determine his official cause and manner of death.
Cook said all he knows about the game Poole had been playing at the bar was that Poole and his friend had agreed they would punch one another only on the body, no blows to the face or groin.
The investigation is ongoing; anyone with information on this case can reach out to the SDPD Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.