Fairfield Student in Hospital After Off-Campus Assault
A University freshman is in intensive care after being assaulted at an underage house party in Westport on Saturday night, according to Westport police.
David Keith, 18, was found on the driveway of a nearby house unconscious with extensive injuries to the head and face shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday morning. The temperature was under 20 degrees when he was found.
After he was found, Emergency Medical Services from Westport arrived and transported him to Norwalk Hospital. Keith is from Norwalk and graduated from Fairfield Prep last year.
The Westport police were notified of a medical situation after a medical alarm button was activated at the house at 80 Hillspoint Road, where they party took place. The party was a house owned by the parents of another Fairfield freshman, Brian Chung, who is also a Fairfield Prep graduate. Chung’s parents are still out of the country, according to Westport Police Captain Foti Koskinas.
A neighbor at 78 Hillspoint Ave, Skip Lane, found Keith unconscious in his driveway at approximately 12:51 a.m.
“If David Keith was not found within a few hours, he probably would have died,” said Koskinas.
Keith is in stable condition, although Westport police have not yet been able to speak to him.
“To this point, the information we have received as to his recovery and prognosis are positive, but his injuries were severe,” said Dean of Students Tom Pellegrino. “The University has been in regular contact with David and his family and we are hopeful for a speedy and full recovery.”
The majority of the 100 party attendants, about 80 percent, according to Koskinas, were Fairfield freshmen. “Very few from Quinnipiac and maybe one or two from Sacred Heart,” he said.
Many students were being shuttled to the party from the University campus in order to avoid arousing suspicion.
No one has come forward with information about who may have been in an altercation with Keith, but through evidence, police are positive that injuries were from physical confrontation, although many attendants blamed it on a drunken spill in the parking lot.
“We have nothing to prove that theory,” said Koskinas. “It was pretty clear that his injuries came from being hit with a blunt object or fist.”
Police say they have narrowed down “people of interest” after interviewing “well over 35-40 people” who attended.
“We definitely have some suspects of some people due to histories,” he said.
According to police, Keith was put into a medically-induced coma to aid in the treatment of his injuries. Koskinas hopes that Keith may be able to identify his assailant. Keith reportedly suffered a fractured skull, bleeding behind the eyes and other injuries.
“We’re going day by day talking to his family and doctors,” said Koskinas.
Police were alerted to the situation by an accidental medical alarm at Chung’s home. A fire alarm had been activated accidentally prior, but was deactivated and the home owner reported to the fire department that the alarm was false. Many people scattered from the party after the first alarm. The medical emergency alarm was then activated in the house and it could not be cancelled.
Koskinas, who supervises the patrol and detective divisions, expressed frustration in dealing with the attendants of the party, because no one has come clean or pointed to any perpetrators.
“To go this far and dump somebody in single digit temperatures in a driveway and not be cautious enough or call the police is dumbfounding,” said Koskinas. “For all these people to have some type of involvement and not for a single person to come up and speak, it’s astonishing.”
Pellegrino urges any students with information to contact the Westport Police Department,and expressed regret that the off-campus party was so well-attended by Fairfield students.
“This was a large gathering at a private residence with presumably many strangers in attendance and where alcohol was served,” Pellegrino said. “When you combine all those factors, it is almost guaranteed that something bad will happen.”
The University’s code of conduct applies to off-campus behavior and therefore some of the Fairfield students could face discipline soon. Meanwhile, Westport police are continuing to investigate.
“This is not something we take lightly, this doesn’t happen often in Westport,” said Koskinas.
Keith, an engineering major, lives in Gonzaga Hall.
Anyone with information is encouraged to Contact Det. Harsche of the Westport Police Department at 203-341-6080.