Rumors are swirling among members of the University of Oregon community about criminal activity that transpired last weekend. Some speculated that several students were mugged, stabbed with a knife or punched on Friday and Saturday night.
According to information provided by the Eugene Police Department, a report by the University of Oregon Police Department and testimony from a victim, several fraternity members were assaulted by at least two men in at least two connected incidents around 2:15 a.m. Saturday morning.
Brennan Huus, an eye witness to one of the incidents, speculated that the assaults may have been retaliation by the two suspects in response to being denied entry into a Halloween party. According to Huus, no personal property was taken by the suspects. The UOPD report said the only confirmed assaults happened on this evening.
According to EPD, the first suspect is a white male, 6’2” tall, with a medium build who was wearing a black beanie and black sweatshirt. The second suspect is described as a black male, 6’2” tall, with “dreads” who was wearing a powder blue jersey.
In a summary provided to the Emerald, EPD said that suspect one punched a 19-year-old pledge of the fraternity in the face on E. 14th Avenue and Ferry Street and a friend of the victim went to confront the suspects. Upon arrival at the scene, one suspect pushed the friend to the ground, according to EPD.
The second incident occurred shortly after the suspect punched the pledge. Huus said the suspects were seen walking around the house where the party had been held that evening. Huus said that about 10 fraternity brothers went outside to confront the suspects and who quickly became hostile. Huus said one was wielding a knife.
“We had two brothers knocked unconscious,” Huus said, “one had his teeth knocked out.”
Huus said one of the suspects grabbed a metal folding chair that had been sitting on the lawn in front of his house and threw it at him, significantly scratching up his nose.
Within minutes of the attack, Huus said a member of the fraternity called 911 to report the incidents. Despite being told an officer was on the way, Huus said police did not arrive at the house until 2:45 a.m. when the group got the attention of a officer driving by who they thought was assigned to their case. Huus said the officer informed them that he was not aware of any officer that had been dispatched to their case.
“I’m glad we found him because we might have not gotten any police assistance,” Huus said.
Huus said that they filed a police report with EPD, but EPD spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin told the Emerald that the report could not be released due to an on-going investigation.
The incidents also sparked controversy for the lack of a “UO Alert.” According to UOPD’s post, the department was not made immediately aware of the incidents. Kelly McIver, communications director for UOPD, said that these incidents would not be grounds for an alert broadcast as UO Alerts are only sent out when an “imminent threat to campus or on campus exists.”
Such a threat occured on Sept. 25 when students received an alert telling them to avoid the blocks between 14th and 15 Ave. between Mill and High streets due to police activity related to a dangerous subject in the area.
McIver said that the alert was a decision made by the UOPD ranking administrator because of possible gun violence and because EPD was issuing their own alerts to people in the area. He said if a similar incident as the one in September occurred again, a UO alert might not be sent out this time.
“Students live all over the city, and the UO can’t control all those off campus areas, nor get timely and accurate information from those areas consistently and reliably,” McIver said via text message.
The Emerald will continue to report on this story as it develops.
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