According to Public Safety reports and a message sent to the Wheaton community by Dean of Students Lee Williams, two separate and unrelated instances of assault occurred at Wheaton early Sunday morning.
The first incident was a fight between students at McIntire Hall between 12 and 1 a.m. that was, according to Wheaton College Director of Public Safety Charles Furgal, unrelated to the second incident.
The second, as originally reported by the Wire, took place around 1 a.m. Two males exited a black sport utility vehicle on E. Main St. in front of Watson Fine Arts Center and verbally threatened two Wheaton students. The threats were primarily directed at the female victim. When the male student began to defend the female student, the two perpetrators began to beat him, leaving the student with bruises and a chipped tooth. The female student was physically unharmed and tried to pull the male victim away from the attackers, who fled when a car approached the crime scene.
As reported by witnesses, Public Safety responded to the scene first. The student who was physically assaulted was taken to Sturdy Memorial Hospital and did not suffer major injuries. The Wire spoke with Norton Police Lieutenant Todd Jackson, who confirmed that the attackers were caught by Public Safety, arrested, and brought to Norton P.D. around 1:30 a.m.
According to a story by David Linton in the Attleboro Sun-Chronicle, one of the attackers has been identified as Juan A. Echeverria, 18, of South Attleboro. The second attacker is a 15-year-old minor from Rehoboth. Echeverria was held at Norton P.D. until 2 p.m. on Sunday and, according to Linton’s report, pleaded not guilty to charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct on Monday.
The Wire has learned that the two victims are not dating and are close friends, contrary to the report in the Sun-Chronicle.
Though Residential Life and/or Public Safety were expected to address the student body on Sunday afternoon, the first notification came from Dean Williams via email on Monday afternoon. The email, confirming previous reports, pointed out that the two instances of assault Sunday morning were unrelated.
Unclear is how the school intends to proceed following both incidents last weekend. Thus far, no details have surfaced about a motivation for the assault or whether the assault was premeditated. Charles Furgal told the Wire that the assault on E. Main Street is still under investigation, and thus declined further comment.