Victims, witnesses tell their side of the story about Kent stabbings

Andrew Schiller

Two men, Tremaine Bessem-Asu, 26, and Jarad Granc, 25, were stabbed near Mugs early Saturday morning, according to the Kent City Police criminal case report.

A plastic knife case, Gerber knife, marijuana joint and Nokia cell phone were collected as evidence. Lt. Jayme Cole said the case is still under investigation and could make no further comment as of yesterday.

Contrary to the police report, Granc said three people – he and two of his friends, Bessem-Asu and Chris Rochowiak – were stabbed between the Pufferbelly and the train car that sits on the tracks along Franklin Avenue. Rochowiak was taken to Robinson Memorial Hospital, and Bessem-Asu was taken to Akron City Hospital. Granc said he drove himself to Robinson Memorial.

“Chris has got a solid leg splint on to keep him from bending his leg,” he said Tuesday. “Tre is on a cane, and I’m on crutches.”

Justin Kessler, who witnessed the incident Saturday, said Tre was in the hospital until about 5 p.m. Sunday.

“They had to give him liquids and antibiotics because the wound was about 2 inches deep. It punctured a muscle and hit a nerve,” Kessler said.

Cynthia Granc, Jarad’s step-mother, said yesterday that Tre is back in the hospital.

“He went for a follow-up yesterday (Tuesday), and they admitted him because he has a blood clot in his leg,” she said. Tre might be getting out today or tomorrow, Cynthia said. An Akron City Hospital representative said Tre’s condition was satisfactory as of yesterday.

Granc said the incident resulted from a fight at Mugs.

“I don’t even know who the guy was that stuck me,” he said. “He smacked my brother’s beer out of his hand and pushed me, and I pushed him back, into the bar, and then he came running at me.”

Then Granc and the unidentified man were thrown out of Mugs, Granc said.

“As I come outside the bar, there was a guy wielding a knife at me trying to cut me, so I danced around him into the street, trying to not get stabbed.”

Granc and the other man made their way over to the train tracks, during which time two of Granc’s friends came outside, he said.

“Him (Tre) and Chris came out the bar and seen it, and they came over,” Granc said. “I’m trying to steer clear of him swinging a knife blade at my side. My sister’s fiancé (Chris) pushed him down and that’s when he stuck me in the leg.

“Right when he stuck me, he stuck Chris (in the knee), and when Tre was trying to get Chris back he stuck him (Tre) in the leg,” Granc said. “I thought he just punched me, but when I turned, my leg collapsed.”

That’s when four of the unidentified man’s friends came out of Mugs, he said.

“They come running out the bar and I was trying to get away from it (but) could hardly walk,” Granc said. “It all happened in like a matter of a minute and a half.”

“Four of his friends tried to jump me outside the Venice Café,” he said. “They come running out the bar (Mugs) and I was trying to get away from it (but) could hardly walk,” Granc said. He made his way up Franklin towards Main Street and drove his sister’s car home, eventually driving to Robinson Memorial, he said.

Kessler was smoking a cigarette outside and didn’t see what happened in the bar, but he did witness what happened after.

“Jarad might have pulled out a knife, but he didn’t use it or anything,” Kessler said. “The guy (in a gray and black fleece pullover) pulled out the knife first. And I think Jarad maybe said ‘oh, he’s got a knife, I do, too,’ but I didn’t see Jarad’s knife.”

” . Jarad tried to kick him away and (the man) fell down,” he said. “That’s when the dude started swinging crazily and got Jarad in the leg.”

Then Chris went to help Jarad and was stabbed, and Tre went to help Chris and was stabbed, Kessler said.

“Tre walked over to the corner (of Franklin and Erie streets) and laid down on the ground,” he said, “and the dude and like three of the guy’s friends were walking after Jarad.”

“The guy who stabbed him ran up the direction towards Water Street. Tre was laying down on the ground and someone had given him a shirt, wrapped around his leg, and I held it on to stop the bleeding.”

Kessler said the police took him over to Water Street near Europe Gyro to identify the man who stabbed his friends.

Ammar Husein, a nursing student, had used his shirt to stem the bleeding of a man lying in the street, said Michael Trocchio, who also witnessed the incident. They had been walking to the Firefly when suddenly two men came out of Mugs, Trocchio said.

“The guy in the white shirt came out and landed on his back,” Trocchio said. “Then a man in a gray sweatshirt came out of Mugs.

Kessler said Granc was wearing khaki pants and a white T-shirt, and the unidentified man was wearing a grey and black fleece pullover.

“He jumped on the guy (Granc) and punched him three or four times,” Trocchio said. Only the unidentified man had a knife, Trocchio said, and he didn’t pull it out until he was near the train tracks.

“And then they both walked over to the railroad tracks,” he said. “We kind of stood back about 15 feet.”

Husein said both men had knives, and “mainly they were at each other’s necks” as they made their way over to the tracks.

“They swung a few punches, but all missed. And then the guy in the gray hoodie got jumped and stabbed the other guy (the black man),” Husein said.

Trocchio said the unidentified man “looked like he got a beer bottle smashed over his head . before he got over there.”

“At least four people were kicking him. I remember Ammar saying ‘four on one’s not fair, four on one’s not fair.'”

Contact public affairs reporter Andrew Schiller at [email protected].