Police are investigating a report of an assault against a Stillwater Junior High student walking home after school Monday, March 13, but say there is inconsistent information in the case.
Just after 3 p.m. March 13, police received a report of an assault in the area of Osgood Avenue, between Orleans Street East and 62nd Street North. The location is near Fairview Cemetery, along a stretch of road that’s very busy on weekdays.
The victim reported that several unknown teenage males approached him in a vehicle and reportedly offered the victim a ride twice. When he declined, they allegedly got out and beat him up, kicking him and punching him, including what was described as an upper-cut to the jaw or chin, according to a police report. The victim reported that an elderly man broke up the incident and gave him a ride home, but police have not had contact with the man and don’t know his identity.
Concerns in the community were raised after a March 14 email to parents from Stillwater Junior High Principal Eric VanScoy, which referenced the alleged assault and said the district had learned other incidents may have occurred in the same area. The message said the vehicle involved in the incident was described as an older model, black Jeep Renegade with a lifted suspension. VanScoy asked parents to be on the lookout for suspicious people and activity in their neighborhoods and to report anything out of the ordinary to local police. He also encouraged parents to go over safety plans with children and teens. Parents of students at Oak Park Elementary received a similar message from Principal Nate Cox, according to school district spokesperson Carissa Keister.
Stillwater police have been investigating the allegations and say there may have been some kind of altercation, but don’t believe there is a threat to the public or to Stillwater Junior High students.
“The victim describes a vicious assault, however there is no evidence that such an assault occurred,” Sgt. Jeff Stender said March 15. According to police, the mother reported no visible injuries.
“We would always caution people to be aware of their surroundings,” Stender said. “But there’s not an active threat, nor do we believe there’s a pattern of criminal activity going on in that area.”
Stender said police are only aware of one other assault reported in the area of the junior high in the last three months. It occurred Jan. 20 and was believed to be a dispute among teenagers that escalated to an assault, not a random attack.
“There doesn’t appear to be any group of people out randomly assaulting Stillwater Junior High students,” Stender said, adding that residents should always exercise an appropriate level of vigilance.
Stender said March 16 that the investigation into the March 13 incident remains open, but there isn’t much evidence to go on at this point.
Asked March 16 for further comment on the alleged incident, Keister said any further information should come from the police.
Here is a copy of a report released by the Stillwater police.
This story has been updated.