The investigation continues on a downtown Martin fraternity party that turned ugly in a hurry in the early morning hours on Sunday.
According to a report released by the Martin Police Department, the party was hosted by the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and took place at 123 Church St. in the building formerly known as the nightclub Chaos. The building is now rented out for fraternity parties.
The first of three incident reports states that Lt. Dean Brooks observed subjects coming out of the front door of the Chaos Club in a “rapid manner” while he monitored the crowd from his patrol unit. This took place around 1:40 a.m.
According to Brooks, he discovered a fight had broken out inside the building and the security company had to shut the party down. Brooks stated in the report that he got on his P.A. system and advised the crowd to disperse to their vehicles and then advised that chemical agents would be deployed if they refused to leave the parking lot.
The report stated that as the subjects began leaving the area, there was some type of disturbance toward the back of the parking lot and shortly after the disturbance, Brooks admitted to hearing two gun shots and then two more gun shots. At this point, the crowd attempted an exit and a few people requested medical attention for a subject that had been sprayed with pepper spray inside the club.
Brooks admitted he then heard what was believed to be more shots in the fire department area and then proceeded to get all the traffic flowing to get emergency personnel in for assistance. The report stated that people continued to linger around with disputes about what had happened inside the building.
Around the same time – 1:40 a.m. – Ptl. John Cross responded to a large altercation involving numerous people on Neal Street near the Martin Fire Department.
His report states that upon his arrival, a victim had been taken into custody by Martin Police Chief David Moore for possessing a prohibited weapon, a black wooden nightstick, during the altercation and disturbance. Cross stated that he took the victim into custody and took him into the MPD for booking procedures. While there, Cross interviewed the victim and he stated he had gotten into an altercation with several black males inside the Chaos Club and had left with his girlfriend, who was also a victim, and her friend. The report stated that the victim confessed that after getting to the car, the trio was confronted by the same group of black males who started a fight around the car. The male victim confessed that one black male pulled out a handgun and fired several shots in his direction with none hitting the victim. According to the report, the black male shooter was described as approximately 6’4” in height wearing a blue shirt, jean shorts, white shoes, a blue bandanna hanging out of his left pants pocket and tattoos on both sides of his neck. The victim stated that he thought the shooter and the other black males with him were “Crips” gang members due to the statements they made to him. The victim also stated that he did not know who they were and was unsure of their hometown.
The report stated that later on, Brooks conversed with the two female victims and they confessed they were with the male victim when he got into a verbal altercation with several black males wearing blue clothing inside the Chaos Club. They gave matching statements to those of the male victim in describing the altercation at the car and the gun shots fired. One of the female victims stated that when the male victim was pulled from his car he grabbed a black wooden nightstick from the inside of the vehicle and “used it to defend himself from the assault.”
Around 3:18 a.m., Ptl. Aaron Carter was dispatched to Volunteer Community Hospital in reference to an assault.
According to his report, he spoke with a male victim who admitted to being a deejay for the party in the Chaos Club. The victim stated that a fight broke out on the dance floor and he cut the music off so his equipment would not get damaged in the fight. The victim stated that he was pushed by Brandon Cox, a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. The report stated that the victim was able to get free of Cox and walk back to his equipment. The victim then stated that Cox put him in a headlock and he was able to get free and run back to the stage. According to the report, the victim stated that a few minutes later, Cox walked back up to him and hit him multiple times in the face with a closed fist. The victim then stated that security broke up the firth and he then went to the hospital to be treated for injuries.
Carter stated in his report that he observed “swelling and lacerations” to the victim’s nose and he was able to get a written statement and digital photos from the victim. Further investigation revealed that Cox has a current mailing address at UT Martin and the victim has a fractured nose.
“These occasions (fraternity parties at rented clubs) have historically become the scenes of fights and masses of disorderly persons overflowing from the building to adjacent streets and parking lots. Once dispersed, police are typically summoned to other mass calls of disorder at business open overnight such as convenience stories and restaurants,” Moore explained. “The typical excuse in these circumstances is that rival fraternities or non-fraternity patrons start the disorder. In this particular case, the president and vice president of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity related to officers that a member of UTM fraternity Omega Phi Psi accompanied by members of his fraternity from other colleges or universities ‘rushed the door’ assaulting several persons resulting in two who were hospitalized and several more treated at the scene.”
“It is a personal affront to the City of Martin and its citizens for this type of behavior to be accepted or tolerated,” he continued. “The Martin Police Department pledges a zero tolerance position for activities that by design set the stage for such a dangerous environment for our police officers and citizens alike.”
The MPD will continue meetings with UT Martin administration, the district attorney’s office, fraternity representatives and citizens who provide venues for such activities.