BUCKHANNON - The Buckhannon Police Department is investigating what West Virginia Wesleyan College officials are calling "an apparent group assault" involving Wesleyan students and Alderson Broaddus University students that allegedly took place early Sunday morning on Wesleyan's campus in Buckhannon.
The incident allegedly occurred around 1:30 a.m. Sunday on College Avenue, and sent several individuals to area hospitals in Upshur and Monongalia counties - one with a knife wound and another with a broken jaw.
The incident is under investigation, and no related arrests have been made, Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory said.
According to a press release issued Monday by Gregory, BPD officers responded to an apparent fight on College Avenue at 1:39 a.m. Sunday.
"The fight is believed to involve numerous individuals from both WVWC and A-B (sic) College (sic)," the release states. "The fight was no longer in progress upon officer arrival and parties had started to flee the scene."
One individual involved in the altercation suffered a knife wound to his arm and another suffered "a possible broken jaw," the release states. The individual with the knife wound was treated first at St. Joseph's Hospital in Buckhannon before being transferred to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown for additional treatment. The person with the broken jaw was directly transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital for treatment, the release states.
"There were several other complaints of possible concussions and other minor injuries, all of which were treated at St. Joseph's Hospital," the release reads.
All individuals who received treatment at area hospitals had been released by Monday afternoon, Gregory said in a telephone interview.
Citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, Gregory declined to identify any individuals involved in the incident, although he did estimate that more than 20 people played some part in it.
In a initial statement, Wesleyan officials noted they were "still gathering information about an apparent group assault that occurred on the grounds of Wesleyan's campus this weekend."
Later in the day, Bob Skinner, WVWC vice president for advancement, sent an updated press release to media outlets alleging that a "group of students from another campus" - presumably ABU students, based on information from the BPD - had attacked Wesleyan students.
"We are working closely with local law enforcement officials regarding the investigation of the assault of Wesleyan students by a large group of students from another campus," the updated release states. "We are asking our students for their assistance in providing any additional information and reminding them to be vigilant when it comes to their own personal safety.
"Wesleyan is in the process of taking all appropriate legal steps to deny access to our campus to those who have been confirmed as a participant in some way in the altercation and our campus security and local law enforcement friends will increase their patrols of the area to ensure no further incidents occur," the release continues.
ABU officials also released a statement Monday, saying, "Alderson Broaddus University is aware that an incident occurred at West Virginia Wesleyan College over the weekend. Our understanding is that the Buckhannon Police Department is working through the details and we will await for information from law enforcement officials."
When contacted by The Inter-Mountain about the situation, ABU Director of Marketing and Communications Ashley Mittelmeier said she could not comment.
"No, because it is an ongoing investigation," Mittelmeier said. "We don't have any other comments at this time."
Gregory said arrests could be pending.
"We are working our way toward that," he said.
Anyone with information about the incident who hasn't already been contacted by a BPD officer is asked to contact the department by calling 304-472-5723 or visiting the department's website at www.buckhannonpolice.com.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at IMT_Kuba.