Student attacked in Territorial Hall, sustains serious injuries

Justin Costley

Three men entered Territorial Hall after 2 a.m. Nov. 12 and one of them allegedly assaulted University student Luke Albers outside his dorm room.
Witnesses said the assailant knocked on Albers’ door, waited for him to answer and then threw him into the hallway wall and began punching him as he lay unconscious on the ground.
Onlookers pulled the assailant off and called 911. Albers was transported to Fairview-University Medical Center where he was treated and released later that morning.
The assailant broke Albers’ cheekbone and eye socket in the alleged assault. Albers also received stitches on both lips from Fairview doctors.
The University doctors who treated Albers told him he will need further surgery to repair his damaged face.
Police reports state the suspects ran out of the building soon after the incident.
The altercation stemmed from an earlier incident when the assailant and a woman he was with encountered Albers and a group of five or six friends in Territorial Hall.
Michael Wilfahrt, who was among this group, said sometime after 2 a.m. Sunday he and a friend were arguing as the man and woman approached.
Wilfahrt added the man remarked, “What’s up, girls?” as he passed by, provoking angry responses from all in the group.
He said everyone involved had been drinking, and though the exchange was heated at times, the disagreement lasted only about a minute before the group was able to get the man to apologize and leave the area.
“We just thought he was really stupid for lipping off to a big group of guys when he was by himself,” Wilfahrt said. “I didn’t think he’d get other people and come back in or anything.”
But while Territorial resident Ty Pope, who had been among the group, was in the bathroom, he encountered the man again, this time with two other men.
Pope said the three men recognized him, pushed him against a bathroom stall and asked him where the other participants were.
Lying to them, Pope told the men he didn’t know where the people were, and that they had probably gone to bed anyway.
“I wasn’t going to get anybody in trouble like that, so I told them I didn’t know the people,” Pope added.
After receiving no help from Pope, the man who had been in the hall earlier left the bathroom and allegedly started knocking on random doors.
Pope said he had no way of knowing what would happen next.
“I thought they just would maybe give up on it,” he said.
But they didn’t, and after only 30 or 40 seconds, Pope said, the assailant reached Albers’ door.
Albers, who opened the door thinking it was a friend, never saw the attack coming.
“It looked pretty bad right away,” Pope said of the alleged assault.
“I ran down there and pulled the guy off of him. By that time, Luke was knocked out and bleeding from his lip, eye and nose.”
Pope added the men were searching for anyone involved in the earlier situation and not searching for Albers in particular.
“They were looking for a fight,” Pope said. “(Albers) was the only person that really opened his door. And they recognized him.”
Pope said he’s never seen the three men in the residence hall before, although the woman, who accompanied the man earlier, lives in the residence hall.
Territorial Hall’s doors are always locked, usually forcing people to swipe their U Card or be escorted by a resident to gain access to the building.
Pope said there are numerous rumors about how the men gained entry to the locked hall. He added that while some say the woman let him in, nobody knows for sure.
Lisa Schulte, assistant director of the residence halls, said the suspects may have tailgated behind someone to enter the hall.
“From all the accounts that I’m receiving, the individual that lived in Territorial did not let these three gentlemen in,” Schulte said.
Schulte added that security officers are always on duty at the residence halls from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., including Territorial Hall.
She said their duty is to patrol the entire interior of the residence halls and deal with any confrontations or emergencies.
“I think as far as any type of emergency that’s handled in the residence halls, it was handled very appropriately,” Schulte said. “Right now we’re just trying to weed out what exactly happened and how.”