UPDATED: Penn State, Borough to Discuss Weekend Stabbing Cases
UPDATED @ 11:52 a.m. Tuesday: State College borough officials will meet with some Penn State representatives Tuesday to review the weekend stabbing incidents in town, borough Manager Tom Fountaine said Monday evening. At a Borough Council work session, council members briefly discussed the situation. "I think the level of aggression we have seen in recent years has increased enormously," council member Theresa Lafer said.
An earlier report, filed Monday afternoon, is posted below.
State College police Chief Tom King will ask the Centre County district attorney, Stacy Parks Miller, to consider pursuing felony riot charges in connection with a large-scale fight Sunday in the downtown, he said Monday.
Meeting with reporters, King said borough police will work closely with Parks Miller to provide evidence and help her determine which charges are most appropriate. He said police have yet to apprehend the individual or individuals who stabbed five people -- four of them Penn State students -- in the Sunday fight and in a Saturday fight on Stratford Drive.
In addition to locating the knifing assailants, authorities want to find and charge other parties who contributed to the brawls where the stabbings happened, King said. He said police have already identified a number of those suspects.
At the second fight, reported about 2 a.m. Sunday on the 100 block of South Burrowes Street, as many as 20 to 40 people may have been fighting, King estimated. He said 15 to 18 borough police officers responded to that scene.
Two Penn State students -- ages 21 and 22 -- were stabbed there, King said.
At the first incident, reported about 2 a.m. Saturday at the Knights of Columbus hall on Stratford Drive, three people suffered life-threatening stab wounds, police have said. About a dozen officers initially responded there.
Two of the three Saturday stabbing victims are Penn State students, King said. They are 19 and 21 years old, respectively. The third Saturday stabbing victim also is 21, according to King.
Four of the five stabbing victims have been released from hospitals, he said. The fifth -- the non-Penn Stater hurt Saturday -- remained hospitalized Monday. Police have not released their names to the news media, and King mentioned a concern about the potential for retaliation against the victims.
"We urge people to come forward" and talk with investigators, he said, "whether they have information about (the incidents) or were involved."
King said borough police are running a full, separate investigation into each incident. All 10 borough police detectives were called to help over the weekend. It's not clear at this stage whether the events are related, but King said that neither incident appeared to be a random act of violence. Both large fights stemmed from earlier altercations among individuals, he said.
Investigators are combing through volumes of evidence from both scenes, where they collected cellular phones, jewelry, clothes, hair extensions, DNA samples and other evidence that can be tied to individuals, King explained.
At the downtown incident, he said, two girls were reported to be fighting inside 797 Lounge shortly before the bar closed at 2 a.m. Sunday. The bar sits at South Burrowes and West College Avenue.
It appears that the altercation spilled outside about 2:15 a.m., sparking the large fight in the area of South Burrowes, King said.
He said police arrived in less than a minute and worked to take control of the scene. That's when they discovered the first stabbing victim there, King said.
The other Sunday stabbing victim arrived later at Mount Nittany Medical Center, having been driven there by friends, according to police reports.
Earlier, the Saturday-morning altercation at the Knights of Columbus materialized when hundreds of people congregated for a private affair there. King said alcohol was present at both incidents, though it's not clear right now whether excessive intoxication was a factor in either. He said investigators also will be looking at 797 Lounge and the Knights of Columbus as they review each event.
StateCollege.com will continue to post additional information as it becomes available.