Student beaten with crowbar after night out in Bridgeport

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Fairfield freshman Matthew Ryder ’07 was listed in serious condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital on Tuesday after being beaten with a crowbar in Bridgeport’s Black Rock area last week, suffering serious head injuries.

The 19-year-old student spent a portion of the night at Paddy Mac’s bar, students have told The Mirror.

At some point in the night he wound up in the yard of the U-Haul facility on the corner of Fairfield Ave. and Gilman St. when the manager, Derrick Mimms, accused him of trespassing, according to the Connecticut Post.

Mimms did not return telephone calls for an interview.

A confrontation apparently ensued between the two men during which Mimms hit Ryder with the crowbar, according to the Connecticut Post.

The status of the investigation is ongoing and the Bridgeport Police are not releasing any further information at this time.

Mimms called the police and when they arrived, Ryder was unresponsive at the scene.Ryder was taken to Bridgeport Hospital and later transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he is still listed in serious condition.

His parents have been by his side throughout his hospitalization and are focusing on the beginning of what will be a long recovery and rehabilitation process.

“Every day is slow,” said Lori Ryder, Matt’s mother. She told The Mirror, “he is going to need rehabilitation but hopefully in the end, he will be getting better.”

Matt continues to improve each day and was able to take a short walk down the hallway with assistance, a small victory in what is now a daily battle to recover.

“He is a smart kid,” said Lori Ryder, her voice taut with tension and tears. “To see his head hurt like this is absolutely horrible.”

John Vaccaro ’07, Matt’s roommate in Jogues, visited him in the hospital and was, “really shocked about the incident.”

“Matt is a good kid and a good friend to everyone” said Vaccoro. “He is not the type of kid to start trouble.”

University officials have yet to comment on the incident, other than to ask for prayers for Matt’s recovery and offer counseling to students in a message on Stagweb.

“At this point, the incident occurred off campus,” said Martha Milcarek, the university’s director of media relations. “We are awaiting the results of the police investigation.” These results will determine the next step for the administration which will be determined by the Office of the Dean of Students.

The university has been closely monitoring Matt’s condition through the Health and Wellness Department. Officials from Fairfield University have been in touch with parent and family, monitoring his recovery.

Milcarek said, “It’s a wait and see situation at this point and we are praying for his recovery.”

While those close to Matt struggle to deal with the after-effects of the incident, some students do not plan to change their night-time activities or destinations.

Charlie Sferlaza ’06 said “It was really messed up what happened to the kid .He may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. ”

He added, “This kind of stuff sometimes just happens. It is what it is.”

Alison Hildenbrand ’05 said that she “still feels safe. It’s a very sad and unfortunate incident, but I don’t think it will have much impact on my own activities.”

However, some Fairfield University students disagree and feel that safety may now be a concern.

Mike Barry ’05 said he would “think twice about how unsafe Bridgeport can actually be”. He added, “I don’t plan on walking around Bridgeport at night.”

Casey Hilpert ’05 said, “It won’t affect my activities as far as going out and having a good time but I will be more aware of my surroundings.”

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