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UPDATED: Penn State Student Rented Knights Hall before Stabbings

by on October 10, 2010 12:50 PM

UPDATED @ 12:50 p.m. Sunday: A Penn State student had rented the local Knights of Columbus hall and was hosting a Homecoming-oriented party before the stabbing incident there Saturday, the facility manager said. Four Loko containers were found outside. The article below has been updated with new information.

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A social event at the Knights of Columbus ended early Saturday with three men in two hospitals with life-threatening stab wounds, State College police said.

Police reported to the local Knights of Columbus hall, 850 Stratford Drive, shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday when a large fight broke out, according to a news release. It was not clear what started the fight.

Two of the three victims were air-lifted to Geisenger Medical Center in Danville; the third was air-lifted to Altoona Hospital. Two of the victims are 21 years old; the third is 19. Updated information on their conditions was not immediately available Sunday.

The Knight of Columbus hall had been rented from 10 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday for an independently organized Penn State Homecoming party, facility manager Lionel Bassett said. The event was not associated with the university or organized by a specific group, he said.

Rather, Bassett said, it was led -- at least in part -- by a Penn State student who contacted Knights of Columbus to rent the hall. The individual told the Knights of Columbus that he expected about 300 people, Bassett said. The hall's capacity is 450 people.

Bassett said people began arriving at the hall about 11 p.m. But security personnel soon realized the group had surpassed reached capacity, and workers began drawing down the crowd size and limiting entry after midnight, he said.

By about 1 a.m., the number of people in the area -- including on the facility grounds -- appeared to be about 600, Bassett said. Fights began to break out, and the Knights of Columbus staff called police, he said.

Bassett also said that the Knights of Columbus had allowed no alcohol inside the venue, but that he and security workers found alcohol containers -- including containers for Four Loko, a caffeinated alcoholic drink -- outside.

In addition, Knights of Columbus workers did not witness any stabbings, Bassett said. Those assaults apparently happened somewhere outside the hall. The Knights of Columbus was unaware of the assaults until police mentioned them, Bassett said.

"I think there were a lot of people he (the lead organizer of the party) didn't know and didn't expect," Bassett said. He didn't place blame on the party organizer. He said it appeared that some of those who showed up were from out of town.

"I hate to think that something like that (the stabbings) happened here," Bassett said. He is deeply concerned for the stabbing victims, he said.

The Knights of Columbus, a community group, is known for its local service, including a five-kilometer race today that will benefit Schlow Centre Region Library. Knights of Columbus supports a variety of local causes and organizations, including the Our Lady of Victory school and Centre Volunteers in Medicine.

An investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information about the stabbing incident is asked to call Detective Steve M. Bosak of the State College police at (814) 234-7150.

Check back at StateCollege.com for more information.

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Terry Casey is a former managing editor of StateCollege.com. He can be reached at [email protected]
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