BY HANNAH HYAT
Salisbury University Police are still searching for two suspects involved in an east campus assault Friday.
Sophomore Steven Cook said he was enjoying the start of the weekend when things took an unexpected turn, resulting in a bloody trip to the hospital and nine stitches.
Authorities responded to a call after a witness reported a fight broke out, which caused the subject to be taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center on Sept. 29 at approximately 1:30 a.m.
The two suspects were described by witnesses as African-American men, approximately 19-22 years old. One had long dreadlocks and the other suspect had a buzz cut.
The suspects were driving a four-door, dark sedan when they fled the scene.
The suspects are still at large.
Cook said his weekend kicked off with a party at his University Park apartment. When the sophomore noticed a security guard parked outside his apartment, he went to check it out.
Once Cook approached the vehicle, he said he noticed the guard was speaking with a female student crying. Cook said he offered to help.
“I told him I got her and I’ll get her back safety,” Cook said.
Cook said he led the woman to a grassy area in front of his apartment. The pair sat down by a bike rack to catch a breath.
“She [said she] was having a really bad week and that tonight had just been making it worst,” Cook said.
Cook said he was in the middle of calming her down when they were approached by two men from behind.
The suspects insisted the female student should leave with them, but noticing her discomfort, Cook said he reassured the two he planned to get her home safely.
After declining their offer, one of the men became aggressive. He said the male suspect invaded the pair’s personal space and continued to urge the female student to leave with him.
“The guy got, like, really close to us, so I kind of just placed my hand on him and was like, ‘Dude, can you just chill out please?’” Cook said.
Cook said the gesture did not sit well with the male suspect.
“His response was, ‘Yo, don’t put your (expletive) hands on me, you don’t know who the (expletive) I am,’” Cook said. “Then he asked, ‘Is this your (expletive)?’ I said, ‘No, man, we are just friends,’ and he answered, ‘So why are you defending a (expletive)?’”
In an attempt to cool down the situation, the sophomore said he approached the second male suspect.
Cook said he informed the second suspect he did not want any confrontation and was simply trying to get his friend home safely. Both agreed they did not want any trouble.
Cook said the first male suspect had other plans.
“When I turned back around, the first guy was really close to her again and he was saying really rude stuff to her,” Cook said. “I walked up to him and I was like, ‘Listen, man, you need to get the (expletive) out of here. You’re being disrespectful as (expletive).’”
The exact dialogue which caused him to become so upset is lost to the Frederick native. Due to memory loss sustained during the confrontation, Cook’s guests had to remind him of the seconds which led up to the hit.
At this point, a few of Cook’s friends said they had come outside and called out to him.
As Cook turned to respond to his friends, witnesses said the first male suspect shattered a glass vodka bottle against the left side of his head.
Cook recalled vaguely seeing his bloody hands and the suspects fleeing to their car before he was driven by his friends to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.
The sophomore’s injuries resulted in a concussion and nine stitches above his left eye.
Cook called SUPD to handle his assault. The sophomore confirmed he would press charges for the cost of his medicals bills, if the opportunity was presented.
Cook said the Salisbury City Police have been proactive in their search, but Cook admitted he was disappointed with the University Park staff and their efforts.
University Park did not respond when they were asked to comment.
“University Park didn’t even know anything, they knew nothing of the situation,” Cook said. “I had to tell them everything and that is somewhere I would have wanted to see more initiative because they should know what happens on their property, especially to this extent.”
The sophomore wanted his story to be more than an unfortunate event. Cook is hopeful his experience will remind students to be careful.
Though Cook admitted he might have done things a little differently, he stood by his belief in standing up for women.
“I probably could have handled the situation a little bit better too, not gotten mad, just taken the girl right back inside, you know,” Cook said. “But we can learn from this, stay cool-headed, stick it out the safe way, but honestly, we always need to stick up for girls, especially girls in situations like these.”
Featured photo by Megan Campbell.