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Student asks for assault arrests

By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 14, 2005
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A UA student beaten up at a party last month said he is unhappy and confused as to why police have failed to arrest anyone despite his pleas to press charges against one of his assailants.

Jeff Van Horn, a psychology sophomore, said he was jumped by a group of eight to 10 men early Aug. 28 at the Stone Avenue Standard apartment complex, 1136 N. Stone Ave.

Van Horn said he sustained injuries from the attack and sought out immediate treatment at University Medical Center.

Although he did not want to press charges at first, he contacted police the next day to press charges but has received very little help from them, Van Horn said.

With the number of complaints received each day, it is not unusual for a case to take more than two weeks before being assigned to a detective, police said.

But given the information he has handed over to police, he is still wondering why police have no answers, Van Horn said.

The day after the incident, Van Horn said he received a phone call from one of his attackers who apologized and offered compensation if he agreed not to press charges.

After the phone call ended, Van Horn said he notified police and provided them with the name of the caller and the caller's phone number. Van Horn said police notified him that they went to the caller's address but no one was home.

As of now there have been no arrests and a detective has not been assigned to the case, said Dallas Wilson, Tucson Police Department Spokesman.

A copy of a police report obtained by the Arizona Daily Wildcat through a public information request has most of the information, including the names of the suspects and witnesses, removed.

Wilson said the information was redacted because the incident is still under investigation, and information that may end up in court needs to be kept confidential.

The report indicates that Van Horn did not want to press charges at the time of the incident. But Van Horn said he called police the next day when he decided to press charges.

More than two weeks have passed since the incident occurred, and Van Horn said he is still waiting to hear from police about whether or not his assailant will be arrested.

"He should have been arrested by now since he admitted it to me," Van Horn said.

Van Horn said he tried to get ahold of detectives all day yesterday after not hearing anything about his case in more than a week.

"I kept getting transferred to different stations, I feel like police are dragging their feet and giving me the runaround," he said.

Wilson said he was unsure when Van Horn's case would be assigned.

The uncertainty of police is a concern because there are medical records and a police report that proves the incident occurred, Van Horn said.

The incident began at the party, where he was dancing on a table with a woman and a male student bumped him aside, Van Horn said.

Van Horn said he jokingly pushed the student onto a couch and told him that he didn't like how he was acting.

The student and his friends immediately got into Van Horn's face, even though Van Horn told them he didn't want any trouble, he said.

Van Horn said the student and several of his friends then began punching him.

"They were trying to hit me from any angle possible," Van Horn said. "It was definitely unfair and vicious. They were acting like animals."

Van Horn said at the time, he thought he would lapse into a coma from head injuries, and he still thinks he would have if his friends had not managed to block the attackers and push him out the door.

He said he did not know the identity of the attackers until one of the students called him the next day to apologize.

Van Horn's friends took him to UMC where doctors suspected his face had suffered broken bone injuries because there was so much swelling, he said.

"I had a severe black eye, and the right side of my face was completely swollen," Van Horn said, "I thought it was broken for sure."

An X-ray determined that no bones had been broken and Van Horn was released after spending four and a half hours in the hospital, he said.

"I had bad neck pains and a headache for over a week after the assault," Van Horn said.

If Van Horn does not hear from a detective by today, he said he will contact internal affairs.

Wilson said Van Horn will be notified if police take any further action.

"It usually does take a while, but the victim will be the first to know if an arrest is made," Wilson said.

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