BANGOR, Maine — Friends of the man beaten nearly to death early Sunday morning under the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge say they want people to know he is a local man who they believe was attacked unprovoked.

Police, who are seeking the public’s help with their investigation, are not releasing the man’s name, but friends and neighbors said Ohio Street resident Ralph “Greenie” Greenleaf, 47, was the man beaten at around 1:25 a.m.

The altercation happened near Carolina Sports and Spirits, said the bar’s co-owner Mark Greenleaf, who is not related to the man beaten.

The bar owner said the victim arrived at his establishment and “we wouldn’t let him in because he was drunk.” The victim told Greenleaf that his girlfriend was inside, so the bar owner escorted him personally to her so he could tell her he was waiting outside.

“The guy was the nicest guy in the world,” Mark Greenleaf said.

After talking with his girlfriend, “he stood outside for a while and waited for her — this is all secondhand from my door guys — then he started walking and he got up around the corner [near U-Haul] when some kids started yelling something at him,” the bar owner said. “He came back and they smashed his head.

“My door guys ran over and yanked the guys off him, and the guitarist in the band came running inside and said call the ambulance,” Mark Greenleaf said. “It’s just awful that that happened to him.”

Bangor Fire Department emergency medical personnel took the man to Eastern Maine Medical Center. Ralph Greenleaf was listed in critical condition at EMMC on Wednesday morning, a hospital official said.

Police believe that a large number of people were in the area and may have witnessed the altercation, and are asking those who saw anything to call them.

“If anybody was there, we would appreciate any information at all,” Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said Wednesday.

No one has been arrested in connection with the case, and whether police have a suspect or suspects is not being released, he said.

“We’re not commenting,” Edwards said. “It is still under investigation.”

Linda Leach, who along with her husband, James, is a neighbor of Ralph Greenleaf, said she was saddened by the news about her friend.

“The whole neighborhood knew him as ‘Greenie,’” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

He has worked for the past 20 or so years as a roofer in Bangor, she said.

Greenleaf was in a coma on Wednesday and doctors have said “he may never come out of it,” Leach said.

Roger Gallant, who has visited Greenleaf in the hospital several times, said he is worried his friend of six years will not survive, which in his eyes would mean he “basically got murdered.”

“People have been going up to the hospital to say their good-byes,” he said.

The incident is under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Bangor Police Department.

Those with information about the incident are asked to call the Police Department’s tip line at 947-7382, ext. 6.

This story was corrected to remove an incorrect address and an unconfirmed employer.