UMBC police have suspect in stabbings Heavy drinking led to fight, authorities say

December 08, 1998|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

Campus police at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County say they have a suspect in a weekend stabbing incident that left two students hospitalized.

John Cook, the school's interim chief of police, said that heavy drinking led to the fight involving a folding lock-back knife. He said the altercation was confined to one dormitory room in Chesapeake Residence Hall. A window was broken during the fight.

UMBC spokesman John Fritz said the fight took place at 5: 30 a.m. Sunday. Kevin W. Blackistone, 20, a junior visual arts major from Avenue, is in stable condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center with severe neck lacerations. Brian Keenan, 18, a freshman English major from Myersville, is being treated at St. Agnes HealthCare for cuts on his hand.

School officials said that the two are not roommates and that the fight took place in the room belonging to Keenan, who as a result of the incident has been barred from campus for alleged violations of the code of student conduct.

"We still do not know what the dispute was about," Cook said, adding that drinking has left memories hazy.

School officials said that in addition to criminal charges, those involved could face school disciplinary action, including possible expulsion.

Cook said the school has determined who bought the alcohol and where the purchase was made.

"The student who bought the beverages was of legal age to buy alcohol," he said.

Campus officials emphasized that such incidents are rare at the suburban school.

"This is highly unusual for this campus," said Cook. "Generally, this is a very quiet place."

He noted that 13 aggravated assaults have been reported in the past five years and that, in seven of those cases, the suspect was a nonstudent.

Charles Fey, the school's vice president for student affairs, said a recent campus survey showed that 21 percent of UMBC students engage in binge drinking, half the percentage of students who admit to such behavior in the national compilation of that survey data.

"UMBC students are very, very serious students," Fey said, adding that the school takes action whenever authorities learn of DTC underage drinking or inappropriate use of alcohol.

Pub Date: 12/08/98

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