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Police decry assaults after another attack reported Wednesday

BY REGINA ZILBERMINTS | APRIL 09, 2009 7:40 AM

An attack injuring three men early Wednesday morning outside Jakes — sending at least two to the hospital after a handful of men reportedly jumped one of them — is the latest in a string of violence downtown.

“This should not be acceptable, but it is,” Iowa City police Sgt. Troy Kelsay said. “This is a big deal.”

According to Iowa City police, one man, 19-year-old Cody — identified in reports only by his first name — was inside One-Eyed Jakes, 18-20 S. Clinton St., when he was bumped by, or bumped into, another male on the main floor near the entrance stairs.

Cody reportedly tried to defuse the situation, but the other male tackled him. Two bar employees ejected both men from the bar around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“The assailant was immediately confrontational and challenging,” Kelsay said. “[Bar employees] even commented that one person seemed to be very cooperative and one person was not.”

Kelsay said Cody, once outside, tried to walk away when someone struck his head from behind and tackled him again.

Two brothers, who are being identified only as 23-year-old Dustin and 27-year-old James, were leaving Summit, 10 S. Clinton St., when they saw Cody being assaulted, police said. Neither knew Cody, but they tried to intervene. Roughly five suspects jumped James, and someone struck Dustin in the head from behind.

A UI police officer reported the incident to Iowa City police within seconds of it occurring, Kelsay said.

Responding officers found Cody on the ground, conscious but with obvious injuries. His face was bloody and there was blood on the ground beneath his head. He was taken by ambulance to the UI Hospitals and Clinics, authorities said. James was also taken to the hospital for emergency treatment. His injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

The suspects had fled the scene when officers arrived, and officials have since not been able to locate them but have obtained some descriptions.

“We got a pretty limited description consistent with [who was] the primary aggressor,” Kelsay said. “We have a very poor description of the rest of them.”

This is the latest in a series of violent incidents, which police have said are not unusual. This is the fourth incident reported on or near the Pedestrian Mall resulting in a serious injury since April 2.

“Men are being sent to the hospital with serious and life-threatening injuries that will take time to correct,” Kelsay said.

In response to the male-on-male violence downtown, police said at the end of last month they were looking into placing cameras in the area, but it is not yet being officially considered, Kelsay said.

UI senior Dan Rupkey said he hadn’t heard about Wednesday’s violence but said cameras could be a useful deterrent.

Sean Hurlburt, a UI junior, said he isn’t “really worried about assaults or violence” but noted he doesn’t go downtown much at night.

The primary assailant from Wednesday’s incident is described as a white male wearing a black coat, a Cubs’ shirt, and black jeans.


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