ABU student charged with malicious wounding

PHILIPPI – The Buckhannon Police Department on Wednesday arrested an Alderson Broaddus University student who is believed to have stabbed a West Virginia Wesleyan College student during an altercation on Wesleyan’s campus Sunday.

Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory said he and Lt. Doug Loudin arrested Steven Roderick Smith, 19, of Virginia Beach, Va., at approximately noon Wednesday on AB’s campus. Smith has been charged with malicious wounding, a felony, and is being held at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $75,000 bond.

More arrests are possible, as the investigation is ongoing, Gregory said Wednesday night. West Virginia State Police officials assisted with the arrest, according to a BPD press release issued Wednesday evening.

The BPD first became aware of the incident when officers responded to a fight involving more than 20 individuals on College Avenue at approximately 1:39 a.m. Sunday, March 23, police said. The incident sent several students to area hospitals, one with a broken jaw and another with a knife wound to the arm, police said.

Gregory confirmed Wednesday that Smith is believed to have stabbed the Wesleyan student in the arm.

Following his arrest, Smith was “expelled indefinitely” from AB, the school’s director of Marketing and Communications, Ashley Mittelmeier, said Wednesday.

Mittelmeier described Smith as a former member of AB’s football team, adding he was suspended from play last semester.

“I can tell you that after the investigation, when developments were made today, the student in question was expelled indefinitely,” she said. “As the investigation progresses, we just want to emphasize that AB has a zero tolerance policy for the kind of behavior that was portrayed by the students involved, and anyone else found to be involved in the incident – depending on their level of involvement – will be disciplined accordingly.”

Mittelmeier said the university expects Buckhannon police and state police officers to return to the campus today to continue taking statements from students.

“Any student involved will have to face the consequences,” she added.

The incident – which Wesleyan officials have referred to as a “group assault” – happened after a social event that took place at the KA House on College Avenue, according to a college press release issued Tuesday. It allegedly originated in the front yard of the Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity House, which is located on College Avenue, across from Wesleyan’s campus. “Several car loads” of AB students allegedly parked behind McCuskey Hall, a residence hall, and then went to the KA House “with a desired objective,” the release states.

Wesleyan has defended its students, saying they acted responsibly and in self-defense.

“When a Wesleyan student was injured, other Wesleyan students went to his defense and the altercation moved from the front lawn of Kappa Alpha Order to the side lawn of McCuskey Hall,” the release states.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Buckhannon Police by calling 304-472-5723 or visiting www.buckhannonpolice.com.

Contact Katie Kuba by email at kkuba@theintermountain.com. Follow her on Twitter at IMT_Kuba.