SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU)— Former 49ers tight end Bruce Miller appeared in court on Friday and faces seven felonies including elder abuse for his alleged attack on a father and son at a Fisherman’s Wharf hotel in San Francisco.
But just hours before the Labor Day attack, a woman named Tara Schmitt Garrison claims to have had an encounter with the football player.
After attending a Journey concert at AT&T Park, Garrison describes going to Tommy’s Joynt, a popular San Francisco restaurant on Geary Boulevard, with her husband.
They ordered sandwiches from the counter at the establishment, known for its BBQ brisket, roast beef and corned beef. Garrison says a man [Miller] approached the counter and told the employees that he’d be having the same as what the couple was having. But he added that the couple would be paying for his dinner.
The woman described how that went on for about a minute before an employee behind the counter said, “No that’s not how we do this. You order your meal and you pay for your meal.’”
Listen to the woman's full account of the Tommy's Joynt encounter
She said Miller was insistent that he’d be having the same and that the couple was paying for his meal.
“The gentleman started to hand me my sandwich,” said Garrison, but Miller reached to grab it. “That’s when my husband intervened and said that’s enough.”
At this point, Garrison recalls that Miller was “obviously drunk”.
“He didn’t grab my arm, but definitely put his hands on my arm. My husband told him to back off and that was enough.”
That’s where Garrison said things began to escalate. Her husband told Miller to stop talking to his wife. Meanwhile, Garrison said she stood as a barrier between the two and hoped nothing physical transpired.
“That’s when I was like, ‘We are not doing this. You need to back off. We have no beef with you,’”.
At this point the employees behind the counter said Miller needed to go or they were going to call the police.
Miller was promptly escorted out.
“At no time did the he ever get aggressive with us. I thought that there was going to be a fight for sure. I’m glad that there wasn’t.”
When the couple finally sat down to enjoy their meal, at least four patrons who had witnessed the altercation told them that it was Bruce Miller from the 49ers. Some even pulled up photos of him on their cell phones. The couple had previously been oblivious to that fact.
A cell phone video of part of the altercation has surfaced, backing up Garrison’s claim where she can be heard saying, “I don’t even know who you are.”
“It was totally surprising, but whatever, he’s human. He’s just a guy,” said Garrison.
When the couple returned home, Garrison said she checked her Facebook feed and learned about the now infamous altercation involving Miller’s alleged attack on a father and son at a Fisherman’s Wharf hotel.
Garrison said she was floored that it was the same guy. “It was kind of scary, really. We felt really bad about how that played out later.”
In retrospect, the couple wishes they would have just bought Miller a sandwich and that things may have ended up differently if Miller would have said something like “I lost my wallet” or “I’m really drunk”.
“First of all it’s horrible that it happened to those people. I don’t care how much you’ve been drinking. It’s sad. His career seems to be over. Just all sad, there’s nothing good of it.”