Party at fraternity house Saturday turns violent

Kevin Behr

A large party turned into a brouhaha at the Sigma Chi fraternity early Saturday.

Multiple people flagged down officers and reported that several people had been assaulted at about 12:30 a.m. in a house in the 1600 block of University Avenue Southeast, police said.

Some of the victims needed serious medical attention for injuries received to the head, said Minneapolis Police Lt. Greg Reinhardt. They were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center.

The victims claimed their attackers were in a gang, but police do not believe the incident was gang-related, Reinhardt said.

He chalked it up as “another big party at a frat house with a big fight and alcohol involved.”

Reinhardt said alcohol is a common theme in many of the recent assaults and robberies around campus.

“The victims are incapacitated or they’re easily victimized because of their state of intoxication,” he said.

One solution is to rent off-campus venues designed to handle large parties because most houses cannot accommodate them, Reinhardt said.

“Because (hosts) are trying to (have parties) on the cheap, they’re putting everybody else’s safety at jeopardy,” he said.

Sigma Chi may have held this party inexpensively but, in the long run, an incident like this could eliminate their right to participate in University activities, Reinhardt said.

Sigma Chi President Zeb GrandPre said the fraternity was working with its headquarters to figure out the details of the incident. He declined to comment further.

Run-by robbery

A man ran up to a University student and stole her purse while she walked through the Prospect Park neighborhood early Saturday, police said.

While talking on her cell phone, Hali Brostrom, a fifth-year nursing student, looked up and saw the man running toward her on University Avenue Southeast, she said.

“He bumped into me, slipped his arm through my purse and just kept running,” Brostrom said. “He never really stopped.”

She immediately called police and, while awaiting their arrival, called her mom to cancel her credit cards, Brostrom said.

Within 10 minutes, however, the thief used Bostrom’s credit cards at nearby gas stations, she said.

Reinhardt said thieves often try gas stations first to make sure the cards work and then go on shopping sprees.

“It’s a way of testing how quickly the credit is turned off,” he said.

A Waste Management employee later found Brostrom’s purse and when St. Paul police returned it to Brostrom, only her driver’s license and a couple credit cards were missing, she said.

“It’s not the end of the world for me,” she said. “My checkbooks weren’t in my purse and I don’t have to pay fraudulent charges for my credit cards.”

Brostrom said she knows crimes like these just happen and cannot be prevented, but paying attention can help reduce the risk of being a victim.

“It’s going to happen, no matter what city you’re in,” she said.

Refrigerator raider

A University student walked into a house on 8th Street Southeast on the assumption that a Halloween party was taking place there.

He then claimed several people assaulted him for no reason, police said.

The suspects claimed the student entered the house and started going through their refrigerator, so they punched him in the eye and tossed him out, Reinhardt said.

If what both parties claim is true, they could each press charges against the other for either assault or burglary, he said.