No charges expected in weekend brawl

Ashley Sepanski

Large student fight ends in lots of finger pointing

AUDIO: Listen to the 911 calls

The county sheriff does not expect to make any arrests or charges in the 30- to 40-person fight at Campus Pointe early Sunday morning.

The sheriff’s department devoted most of its resources to the slaying of Portage County Realtor Andy VonStein, said Portage County Sheriff David Doak and Maj. Dennis Missimi at a Campus Pointe town hall meeting last night.

‘’I had the entire detective’s bureau, all the majors and myself working on (the homicide),” Doak said.

And that left little resources to investigate the fight, they said.

The brawl stemmed from one apartment that was rented to at least one Kent State basketball team member, said sources connected to Kent State athletics. The fight then spilled into the parking lot between buildings 1837 and 1839 at about 2 a.m., said witnesses at the scene.

Sources did not confirm whether basketball players were involved in the fighting or who they were.

“We’re trying to get to the bottom of it, too,” said Alan Ashby, an athletic department spokesman. “We are informed, and we know what happened. We hold our student athletes to pretty high standards, and we’re doing everything we can to find out what went on.”

Missimi also said security cameras in Campus Pointe breezeways offered no leads, and witnesses did not identify any suspects.

“There’s a lot of finger pointing,” Missimi added. “When you take innuendos being made and rumors flying and turn that into charges, you’re talking about two different things.”

In response to the incident, Campus Pointe announced a new security policy at yesterday’s meeting.

Kelly Lewton, director of community operations at Campus Pointe, said the apartment would replace its contract security guards with sheriff’s deputies, starting last night.

Lewton told a room full of residents that deputies would be patrolling the grounds at undisclosed hours and would have the right to arrest and use dogs to search for drugs. Doak also said if residents don’t open the door when deputies knock, they could face charges or a court summons.

If any residents are charged in connection to the fight, they’ll be evicted, Lewton said.

Brittany Smith, sophomore business major, said she thinks the new policy won’t make residents feel safer.

“We never would’ve lived here if we knew they were going to be babysitting us,” Smith said. “I’m mad and frustrated because a group of students came, the majority of whom don’t even live here, and now (Campus Pointe) is telling residents to call the cops on each other.”

The sheriff’s department said that despite their expectation that charges will not be pursued, the incident is still under investigation. They could not confirm who was present during the brawl.

Audio from the 911 tapes recorded Sunday morning indicated 11 calls were made between 1:56 a.m. and 2:08 a.m. about the fight.

Doak said a shortage of patrol cars that morning delayed deputies from responding and led the department to request backup. Brimfield police, Kent State University police and Kent City police also responded to the fight.

Multiple witnesses said they saw a group of people attacking one man who tried to escape by going into a car. But they broke out the windshield and pulled him out.

At least three cars were damaged in the incident, and once the dozens of people stopped fighting, the Campus Pointe parking lot was littered with ripped T-shirts, broken glass and bloodstains, witnesses said.

Contact Ashely Sepanski at [email protected].

Josh Johnston contributed to this report.