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More details emerge regarding Halloween assault

Published: Monday, November 9, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

The 21-year-old victim of last Saturday's assault, who requested to remain anonymous, is not angry, frustrated or wanting revenge; he just doesn't want anyone else to go through what he has.

"He's not angry," said Amanda Chase, the victim's friend and the creator of the Facebook group to help with the investigation. "At first he was a little frustrated, which is understandable, but he's just more confused now. He just wants this thing to be solved."

Chase, with her and the victim's friend Alex Cubs, created the Facebook group, Find Those Responsible for the Halloween Assault at UNH, to help with the investigation by giving students an indirect way to talk about what they might have witnessed. As of 2:31 p.m. yesterday, there were 4,938 members, and over 100 wall posts on the group page, showing a mix of sympathy and support.

"I have received at least 15 private messages with pictures or witness accounts," said Chase during an interview last Friday.

Cubs, who called the victim the night of the assault to meet up, found out what had happened to him from his father later that night. He said he notices a change in his friend, not only in his physical appearance, but in his emotional state as well.

"He was one of those kids that never shut up," Cubs said. "He was always super lively and talkative. Now, he's really sedate and quiet. When I first saw him, I was like ‘Holy crap!' I mean, one of his eyes was swollen shut and his whole face was scraped."

Cubs and Chase's friend was attacked last Saturday at approximately 11:35 p.m. by five assailants between Stoke and Sawyers halls, before being rushed to the hospital after a 911 call was made by a passerby.

According to Chase, the victim was walking alone when a group of kids yelled at something at him. When the victim ignored the remarks, he was jumped. His last memory was being punched in the face before going unconscious and later regaining consciousness in the ambulance. The victim sustained multiple injuries including a broken jaw, which is currently wired shut, and scrapes covering one entire side of his body.

According to witness accounts, multiple people walked by the assault, including watching from the nearby Sawyer and Stoke Halls, and did nothing.

"If one kid had stopped sooner and said, ‘Hey, I'm going to call the cops,' it could've helped," Chase said. "I mean, these could be kids we're going to class with."

In this instance of bystander phenomena, the studied occurrence of individuals walking by or watching a crime and not intervening, alcohol or obviously colored costumes could have hindered bystander intervention. According to Victoria Banyard, an associate professor of psychology, the ability for an individual to become part of a crowd, can delay bystander involvement.

"That people become anonymous in a crowd, they are less likely to step in and do that right thing," said Banyard in an email about in the incident. "This might be exacerbated by people being in costume - people feel less identifiable and thus, perhaps, less responsible for doing something."

Banyard also addresses the role that alcohol may have played in this instance of bystander phenomena.

"I think what we do know is that if bystander's own behavior might get them in trouble, such as if they are underage and have been drinking, they may be reluctant to call police or step in to help for fear that they will then come under the spotlight of authorities," Baynard said.

A fear of the authority's spotlight, as well as a fear of retaliation, may be holding many students back from coming forward, according to Paul Dean, deputy chief for the UNH Police Department. To Dean, these fears are very real, as he references the possibility of a video of the attack that a student may have, but is scared to turn it into authorities.

According to Dean, after a story on the attack ran on WMUR, a mother of a student wrote on the WMUR blog that her daughter had a video of the attack, but was frightened to give it as evidence to the investigation.

"We're really trying very hard here," said Dean in a phone interview on Monday.

Dean said that they are currently working with leads that appear promising, though it may be too early to tell how promising they really are.

If you or anyone you know witnessed this attack or have a picture or video of attack, UNH Police ask that you call 603-862-1427. Anonymous tips can also be submitted through the Facebook group or at this website:

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Dirk Diggler
Fri Nov 13 2009 18:12
We all need to be realistic and consider how many assaults happen every weekend at unh. Im sure there are at least a half dozen fights a weekend where someone ends up getting beaten up badly that never go reported. Everyone on this campus at one time or another has likely witnessed a fight .
Thu Nov 12 2009 20:23
What is happening to my beloved New Hampshire? This used to be a state (and a campus) where one could generally feel safe at all times. I've never hesitated about walking the streets of Durham at any time, day or night, and recent events occurring over the past couple years have forced me to question what is changing here. Cars were stolen from UNH lots, petty theft has become more prevalent, and now severe assault is taking place in this once quaint New England town. The fact that people stood by and watched this attack happen is absolutely sickening--there should have been immediate calls to the police at the very least. A fight between two individuals is one thing--I could see wanting to let them work it out--but a five-on-one attack is quite different. Shame on those who did nothing, you're all weak both in character and ethical fortitude. As to those who perpetrated the attack, I hope karma severely punishes them if the local police are unable to do so. If anyone has real information and doesn't come forward, you will regret it for the rest of your life. Do the right thing.
Thu Nov 12 2009 17:20
well dirk diggler, alcohol can have a bad affect on many people, and it is my assumption that the people who performed the act were under the influence of alcohol, and my understanding of your comment is that your are blaiming this poor man that got brutally beaten, you are basically saying it was the victims fault not the people that did it, does every person need a reason to perform the act they do, oh and another thing is do you really consider this a fight( 5 men versus 1 man), wow they must be tough guys huh
Dirk Diggler
Wed Nov 11 2009 17:25
Can we please have the real reason the fight happened? No one gets attacked for not responding to comments yelled at them.
Your name
Wed Nov 11 2009 13:16
Don't be a bystander that does nothing. Even if you can't step in you should at least advocate for change and/or learn how to be an active bystander. If you think you can do something than do it as long as it isn't illegal or putting yourself or others at greater risk.
I agree with many who have posted here. It is quite disappointing that so many were witnesses have done so little. Great work to those who stepped forward.
Tue Nov 10 2009 17:15
Why is this guy being treated as an anonymous source, isn't his name posted all over the wall of the Facebook group? I feel for him, and will respect his wishes here, but I wonder if there would be greater urgency if there was a name publically associated with the victim...
Tue Nov 10 2009 16:35
If this kid had been hit in the head just right, or even hit his head as he was going down, this would have been a murder investigation. That is how serious this stuff is!!!
Tue Nov 10 2009 15:53
Take back the campus!! Do not allow this kind of activity to take place! Everyone can help by being vigilant and by reporting any suspicious activity immediately. This could have been you, your best friend, your brother or sister.
Tue Nov 10 2009 14:05
Because it is the right thing to do, please show some humanity and decency to a fellow wildcat and human being. Come forward so these assaliants who are out there can be brought to justice.
Tue Nov 10 2009 11:00
Why would you be afraid to help solve an assault crime if you have a video that could help identify the people that are responsible? The fact that so many people apparently witnessed this and did nothing but stand there and watch is deeply disturbing.

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