One Georgia Southern University student was jailed and warrants were issued for another for fighting after a long-brewing dispute came to blows.
Trevor Michael Jennings, of Cumming, was arrested Wednesday on charges of affray, while GS police have a warrant out for Alvin T. Ngo, of Columbus, for the same charge, according to GS police reports.
The charges stem from an Oct. 21 brawl in an on-campus parking lot where a crowd gathered after mutual taunting between Jennings and several others involved in an allegedly ongoing dispute.
GS officers met with Jennings at East Georgia Regional Medical Center the night of the fight, where he told them Ngo struck him in the nose, shattering it.
“His nose was in pieces,” said Pamela Burton, Jennings’ mother. “We have a $50,000 hospital bill, and that does not include the plastic surgery.”
She said her son underwent four hours of plastic surgery to repair his nose.
Jennings, 19, gave police the names of witnesses, but at first officers had difficulty locating the witnesses and Ngo, 20, reports stated.
The night Jennings spoke with police in the emergency room, he said he was “jumped by about 20 men.”
He first told them the fight occurred off campus “near Dingus Magees,” but later it was determined to have taken place in the Lot 21 parking lot on campus. Officers later obtained video from security cameras in the parking lot, as well as other locations, showing events leading up to the fight. Jennings didn’t wish to press charges at first but later chose to file a report, police said. He told officers he felt the incident involved members of a local fraternity, but police reports did not confirm that information.
Jennings also said he felt the conflict stemmed from issues that occurred when he was in high school, involving two others.
Police continued to investigate the incident, which involved numerous other witnesses indirectly.
Security cameras confirmed Jennings’ story that he was eating alone at the Dining Commons when three other young men sat down near him. One is seen snapping a photo of him. That student later told police he did so because Jennings often snaps photos of him and his friends when he sees them on campus.
At that time, the others reportedly told Jennings “you don’t even know what is about to happen” and made further threats, Jennings told police.
The videos show Jennings leave, followed by the three others. Then, cameras caught images of a large crowd gathered in the Lot 21 parking lot, surrounding Jennings and his car.
During interviews, Jennings told police people in the crowd blocked him in so he could not leave and taunted him with threats, so he called a friend for help. Later, when police asked why he did not call law enforcement, Jennings stated he did not expect the altercation to come to blows.
However, several witnesses told police it was Jennings who was insisting on fighting and that some in the crowd were his friends he had called to the scene.
The ongoing issue between Jennings and others from his hometown didn’t even involve Ngo, he said.
As the GS police investigation continued, with officers questioning Jennings further and speaking with witnesses, accounts did not match.
Videos show that as the crowd gathered, Ngo and Jennings squared off. In later interviews, Jennings admitted to making the first move, according to reports.
“The Asian kid kept coming at me, so I had to swing,” he said, adding that Ngo struck back and began hitting him in the nose.
Witnesses, who are not named in this article since they are not charged, said Jennings spit on Ngo before throwing the first punch. One of the men allegedly involved in the ongoing dispute showed police a video of people in the crowd urging Jennings on during the fight. That witness said Jennings had called upon several friends to meet in preparation for the fight. Another witness, who claimed to be Jennings’ friend, confirmed that Jennings sent texts asking friends to come support him.
Officers had difficulty locating Ngo at first but did interview him at one point, when he told them Jennings spit on him and struck first. Reports were not clear as to why Ngo was involved in the affray.
Police said as the investigation went on, and Jennings was confronted with conflicting statements by others, he became “irritated and uncooperative.”
Burton, Jennings’ mother, said when she tried asking questions, police refused to discuss the case with her, stating they would speak only with Jennings, as he is an adult. She said she feels Ngo is responsible for her son’s medical bills and is upset that the investigation took over three weeks to resolve.
“I am frustrated that there are no answers. They didn’t want to give me any information.”
She is retaining an attorney, she said.
After his arrest Wednesday, Jennings was released on bond from the Bulloch County Jail.
GS police tried to locate Ngo and left a voicemail informing him of the warrant for his arrest, repots stated. As of Friday afternoon, Ngo had not been arrested, according to jail records.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.