On Tuesday, April 16 at approximately 11:30 p.m. two Springfield College male seniors were walking back from Babson Library to the Townhouses when they were confronted by a group of five assailants, according to their account. The seniors, who asked to remain anonymous, reported being attacked from behind as they reached an area across the street from Gulick Hall, between the tennis courts and the Physical Education Complex.
“All of a sudden I get pushed, and then hit in the head with a pretty decent punch,” the first male student said.
After a scuffle in which punches and kicks were thrown, a Springfield College Pride Ride operator drove past the scene, and called into the dispatcher at the Department of Public Safety, according to Police Chief Judy Jackson. The driver then exited the van with a friend and ran to the aid of the seniors.
“He [the Pride Ride driver] really saved us,” the first male student said. “If that didn’t happen I don’t [know] what would have happened. We would have been fighting for a pretty long time.”
At this point, according to the SC seniors, two of the assailants immediately fled the scene. Shortly after, the remaining three also bolted up the road between the tennis courts and the PE Complex into the darkness.
Jackson acknowledged that the police dispatcher received multiple calls about the “fight on Alden Street.” Some of these apparently came from students in Gulick Hall witnessing the altercation.
The two SC seniors received no major injuries, but did suffer minor bruises and cuts from the fight. No guns or knives were present according to the seniors, and nothing was stolen.
Amid the confusion surrounding the incident, some Springfield College students expressed displeasure with what they considered to be the slow response time by the SC police.
“It took longer than it needed to,” the first student said. “What happened was they thought all of [the assailants] left. I still don’t know why they didn’t bring someone to us [first].”
According to Jackson, the police officers had been led to believe that all of the assailants had fled, and they pursued them. Unbeknownst to the officers, they were only chasing the two assailants who fled the scene immediately after the arrival of the Pride Ride driver.
There was also some confusion regarding the response of the Emergency Medical Services workers. Jackson asserted that EMS was on the scene in approximately six minutes, although the seniors believe the response time took much longer.
Jackson debunks rumor
In addition to the fight on Alden Street, there were rumors swirling around campus of a gunman running through campus on Tuesday, April 16. When approached about the issue, Jackson had a definitive answer.
“We did not have any gunman running through campus yesterday,” the police chief said. “There was a situation involving Springfield [City Police] up on Middlesex and Westford [streets] involving a taxi cab and three individuals who tried to rob the taxi.”
No one involved in the attempted robbery was affiliated with the college, and although the three suspects ran from the scene, none of them ran through the campus according to Jackson. There was a gun involved in the robbery, which is why SC police officers set up a perimeter at the initial crime scene while the Springfield City Police were in pursuit. Two of the robbers were apprehended, while one escaped.
Jackson stressed the importance of continuing to be “vigilant and aware” but not becoming paranoid. She also said that students should call the Department of Public Safety at 413-478-5555 any time they see anything even remotely suspicious.
“Help us to help you,” Jackson said.
Gabby DeMarchi contributed to this article.