Rumors spread of multiple reports of batteries on campus
April 26, 2019
University students were in a frenzy late Wednesday night after social media posts and messages began to spread a rumor that local gangs were beating university students with bricks.
The rumors presented different scenarios for each incident. Some reports indicated that beatings were reported at the Main Quad, Illini Grove and Washington Park.
In actuality, one battery occurred. The battery occurred around 1:30 a.m. and was reported Wednesday around 3 a.m. to Champaign Police. According to the Champaign Police Department’s report, two unknown offenders jumped the victim while he was walking home from a bar.
As of Thursday, neither Champaign, the University nor Urbana police departments have released any other reports of batteries in the University area.
Of the battery that did occurred, Holly Pasquinelli, freshman in Engineering, was a victim and a witness.
According to Pasquinelli, she and Aidan O’keefe, freshman in business, were walking home from KAM’s and were passing by Washington Park when Pasquinelli was grabbed by the back of her head and shoved to the ground. Pasquinelli became unconscious for a few minutes.
“The whole time I was laying on the ground in shock,” Pasquinelli said. “I couldn’t hear anything. I couldn’t move.”
Pasquinelli said she awoke to find O’keefe trying to fight off two men. The two men were hitting O’keefe with brick. Once O’keefe was able to fight back, the two men ran away.
Pasquinelli was left traumatized and O’keefe was left with a concussion.
Neither Pasquinelli nor O’keefe know why the two men acted as they did, as nothing significant occurred at KAM’s.
Pasquinelli has been in touch with detectives at the Champaign Police Department and has confirmed that no other incidents have been reported, though they are aware that some cases may go unreported.
Of the rumor that the alleged incidents were gang affiliated, Pasquinelli said that the Champaign detective said he had never heard of anything like that.
The rumors have also affected Pasquinelli.
“It’s very frustrating for me,” she said. “It was a very traumatizing thing for him and I to go through. It’s not been an easy past few days.”
Pasquinelli said she wants everyone to stay safe when they go out and to never be alone.
“You just never know when things are going to happen to you,” she said. “But when it does, it becomes very real.”