Police shelve alleged attack investigation

The case of a student who was allegedly assaulted Jan. 24 is now inactive, said Duke University Police Department Maj. Gloria Graham. Investigators do not have enough information on suspects to move forward, she said.

The victim, who spoke with DUPD officials after the incident, could not provide many details on the attackers, Graham said. DUPD officials do not know how many attackers were involved, but Graham said they are believed to be students.

The student has returned to classes and is recovering, he wrote in an e-mail to The Chronicle Feb. 2. Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek said she has been in touch with the student and that he is doing "fine."

Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said he chose not to alert the Duke community of the incident because it was a student fight and did not appear to be a public threat. He noted that incidents of random crime are usually greater threats to others.

"I don't want to minimize any fight or altercation, but at least until someone tells me otherwise it doesn't strike me as anything more than a falling out that's not totally atypical," Moneta said. "I've not seen information as of yet that would lead me to believe it is a threat to rest of community."

A police report for the incident states that a police officer found the student conscious and alert but bleeding from the mouth on the front lawn of the Alumni House around 4:20 a.m. The incident was reported by a passerby, Graham said.

The student was intoxicated and told DUPD Police Officer Winiford Ogan, who was dispatched to the scene, that an unknown student had hit him several times about the head, the report states.

The victim was admitted to the emergency room after being treated by Duke Emergency Medical Services that morning. Graham declined to comment on the extent of the student's injuries.

Such student altercations are not frequent and usually involve alcohol, Graham said. Officers believe the student also engaged in the fight, she added.

"He entered into the fight voluntarily-he engaged in an altercation with [the attackers]. There was nothing unique about this particular incident compared to any other conflict or physical altercation that happens on campus other than he sustained an injury," Graham said.

One aggravated assault on campus was reported in 2007 and four were reported the year before, according to the 2008 Clery Campus Security Report.


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