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Fight, fire dampen festive homecoming weekend

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A fight and a car fire brought an end to CSU-Pueblo’s festive homecoming weekend Sunday.

Ervin Farris, a sophomore majoring in sociology, got into a fight with an unidentified man during the homecoming dance at about 1 a.m. at the Occhiato University Center, Officer William Brown said in a statement issued by the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department.

A security guard from Alfon’s Security and Officer C. Roldan, who were on duty during the dance, tried to break up the fight. When this didn’t work, Roldan tased the unidentified man, who released Farris and disappeared from the scene.

Farris said the man, who called himself London, started the fight for no reason.

Fight
Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office clip art

“He said I looked at him wrong and that I gave him the evil eye,” Farris said. “He swung at me, and it escalated from there.”

Farris wasn’t hurt in the fight, he said, and that he is in good shape.

“I didn’t want to fight, and I was restraining myself the whole time,” Farris said.

Security canceled the remainder of the dance, the report stated.

However, the festive weekend took a turn for the worse at 4:52 a.m. when an officer was sent to investigate a car fire in the parking lot area north of Greenhorn Hall. In a report, an unidentified man who called about the fire said he was sitting in his car eating when he saw a car in flames. He said he did not hear an explosion or any unusual noises.

The owner, student Camillia LeFlore, said she last drove the car at 11 p.m. Saturday. Firefighters with the Pueblo County Fire Department, said the trunk of the car was unlocked and that the right passenger door was open. Firefighters said it is possible someone left the door open, or that the fire caused the door to open.

The fire also destroyed cars owned by Morgan Schnitker, Cecilia Thomas and Tamarae Ellis, who is director of Greenhorn Hall. Three messages were left for Ellis who didn’t return the calls. 

Firefighters suspect arson, the report stated, because the heat couldn’t have been hot enough to shatter both windows in Schnitker’s car which was parked two spaces from LeFlore’s car. LeFlore said she doesn’t know who might have done this to her car.

Additionally, Glenn Estrada told authorities that someone broke into his car, but that nothing was missing. The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incidents, according to a campus-wide e-mail provided by Tony Frank, interim president of CSU-Pueblo; Provost Russ Meyer and Zav Dadabhoy, dean of Student Life.

“CSU-Pueblo takes any acts of criminal behavior seriously and is working closely with local law enforcement to follow up with those involved,” the statement read. “We want to make it clear that these sorts of events are unacceptable on a university campus, and there can be serious consequences.

“Even in incidents where criminal charges aren’t warranted, any students found to be involved in the kind of disruptive activities that shut down the Homecoming Dance are subject to the University’s disciplinary process.”

CSU-Pueblo is a relatively safe campus, according to the statement, but such incidents always serve as an important reminder of the role we all play in maintaining a safe community.

“Our security officers routinely patrol all parking lots,” the statement read, “and we will increase parking lot security in light of this weekend’s events to help alleviate any uncertainty among students, faculty, and staff.”

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call 719-549-2373.