Bartender is slain at popular watering hole

A convicted murderer allegedly stabbed an off-duty bartender to death early Thursday morning outside a popular new Prospect Heights after their dogs’ leashes became entangled outside the Branded Saloon.

Chai Eun Hillmann, an aspiring actor with a black belt in karate, wasn’t even tending bar at the trendy Vanderbilt Avenue spot, when he ran outside around 2:15 a.m. to see what was happening to his miniature pinscher, Rocco, tied to the fence. He was there to play a charity poker game and hear his colleague, Daniel Hultquist, play guitar, said Anne Joseph, 24, a manager of Beast, a restaurant across the street owned by the trio who opened the Branded Saloon.

When Hillmann, 41, got into a tussle with Daniel Pagan, 36 — who was with his girlfriend and Shih Tzu — Hultquist ran outside to break up the fight.

Pagan allegedly stabbed Hultquist, 36, in the neck. Hillmann was stabbed twice in the torso, police said.

Hillmann’s colleagues brought his bleeding body into the bar where they cut open his pants to find the wound, Joseph said.  He was pronounced dead on arrival at Kings County Hospital. Hultquist was treated and released.

Pagan, who was apprehended blocks away, served nine years for manslaughter, Hillmann’s co-workers said detectives told them.


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