Two Aggie Assaults Could Be Hate Crimes

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A joint investigation into a pair of crimes continues, but there are signs that point to a connection between the two.

Just after 8 PM Monday night on Charles Haltom Street in the University Apartment complex, the 56-year-old relative of an A&M international student was wrestled to the ground by three people and shot three times with a BB gun. The trio took only the man's cell phone before fleeing the scene. The man suffered minor injuries.

Minutes later, University Police arrested three juveniles and charged them with aggravated robbery.

But around the time of the first assault, College Station police responded to Cherry Street, where an international student was assaulted by three juveniles with a BB gun. The grad student was taken to St. Joseph, treated for puncture wounds and released.

"Our response is like any other response to any incident, whether it be in the international students' area or any other dormitory on campus," said Christopher Faulkner with University Police. "It's all the same response."

This is the first major incident involving a crime against an international student since the June 1st assault of an Aggie near Northgate. That attack spawned the creation of a coalition called Make Aggieland Safe for Everyone, or MASE. The group cites decades of verbal and physical assault against international students as reasons for needed change, including increased police patrols.

"A strong, clear, visible, permanent presence would really show the students that the university and the College Station police and the Bryan police care about these issues," said Harris Berger with the MASE Coalition.

While these crimes have still not been connected or categorized as hate crimes, the university plans to send out an e-mail to students on the issue.