Two fraternities involved in 100-person brawl Saturday
Dec. 09, 1997
Punches were thrown and windows were smashed Saturday night in a series of altercations involving several on-campus fraternities and one MU football player.
The night's events ended in the early hours of the morning with one arrest, a 100-person brawl and several busted car windows.
It began at 8 p.m. when a man came to the MU police station claiming he had been assaulted by an unknown person who threw a rock at his car, shattering the window and slightly injuring the cars' two passengers, said Sgt. Rox Anne Robinson.
Police said they followed the victim, Tremaine Spencer, president of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, to the site of the alleged assault, Rothwell-Brewer Gymnasium. There, police found a crowd of 75 people assembled outside and 20 to 25 people fleeing the scene. Most of the crowd was there to attend a Phi Beta Sigma holiday dance.
Because of the large number of people assembled, MUPD called Columbia Police for back-up. In all, nine police cars were in front of the gymnasium.
Witnesses told police the person responsible for throwing the rock at Spencer's car was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Police said witnesses told them the rock was thrown in retaliation to a flier printed by Spencer's fraternity depicting members of Alpha Phi Alpha wearing high heels and women's underwear.
Once police arrived at the scene, Spencer sped away in his car, driving over the front lawn of Johnston Hall, almost hitting police officers on foot.
"He came right at me like he was going to run me over, and I had to jump out of the way," Robinson said.
Spencer was not in trouble at the time, and police said they are unsure why he fled.
Later Saturday night, police said they arrested Spencer on suspicion of third-degree property damage for using a golf club to smash the back window of a Buick belonging to an Alpha Phi Alpha member.
Police said he was easy to catch. He came to the MUPD station to file a report for the damage to his car earlier in the evening.
Police canceled the dance to be held at the gymnasium for fear another disturbance would ensue.
Activity calmed until Kappa Alpha Psi members arrived at Good Time Country, 5551 S. Highway 163, for an after-hours party. The club was reserved from 2 to 6 a.m. under the name of Shad Criss, starting cornerback for the MU football team.
Paul Blythe, the club's owner, said trouble started around 2:30 a.m.
"I was called to the door, and Shad Criss told me there was a group of people who he did not want entering the club," Blythe said.
The unidentified group at the door was able to enter the club anyway, at which point, Blythe said, about 100 people began to brawl. The fight went on until Blythe's bouncers broke it up around 3:30 a.m.
Participants in the fight went to the parking lot, where several car windows were smashed. One of the damaged vehicles was Criss' pickup truck, Blythe said.
The Boone County sheriff, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Columbia police all arrived on the scene, but no arrests were made. Investigation of the case has been handed to MUPD.
Members of both fraternities were unavailable for comment.
"There is no animosity between the two organizations," said one MU student who wishes to be known as a "close, personal friend of both fraternities." "I feel like it was blown out of proportion," he said.
The person also said the flier negatively depicting Alpha Phi Alpha never existed.
In addition to any criminal charges that could be levied against fraternity members, the case has been referred to Greek Life for disciplinary action against Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi.
Kappa Alpha Psi is not officially recognized as a campus organization because of its small membership at the beginning of the school year.