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Irish Guard laments injury of members in Thursday incident

Sheila Flynn and Beth Erickson | Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Members of the Irish Guard said that Saturday’s game “was not the same” without their tenth man, who could not participate in gameday activities after suffering injuries in what senior Guard member Drew DeWalt called an “unprovoked attack” Thursday night in downtown South Bend.

“Having to march with nine men instead of our full 10 was extremely unfortunate, especially because of the reason it had to happen,” said junior Guard member Justin Funk.

Four Notre Dame students, including DeWalt and Guard member John Raih, who missed Saturday’s game, were assaulted Thursday night. DeWalt said that he and the other three students got pizza at Vesuvio’s and then walked to a location across the street from The Library to wait for a cab. While they were waiting, he said, a car of “South Bend residents” stopped, and its occupants got out to verbally harass the four students.

“My impression was they were just looking to fight, and they found a reason, somehow,” DeWalt said.

“We didn’t want to fight, especially with the numbers against us, and they just started beating us up,” he said.

“While it was going down, another one of the cars – their friends – showed up. I don’t even know the exact numbers. There were four of us, and more or less 10 of them,” he said.

DeWalt said the fight continued for five to 10 minutes before the police arrived, after being called by other student witnesses. The police broke up the fight and took down names, but no one was arrested, DeWalt said.

South Bend police Captain John Williams said Monday that he was not aware of a police report filed in conjunction with the incident.

“Just because we were called doesn’t mean there was a report made,” Williams said.

DeWalt said Raih and the two other students went to the hospital for treatment. Raih sustained multiple bruises and injuries to his face and body, and his condition prevented him from participating Saturday in Irish Guard gameday activities. He could not be reached for comment.

“Johnny, as much as it hurt him, was physically unable to march because his face and nose were too swollen, [he was] too lightheaded from his painkillers, and because if he tried to march, let alone trot, his broken nose would start bleeding,” Funk said.

DeWalt also said that the two other students suffered significant injuries.

“The other two guys, had they been on the Guard, wouldn’t have been able to march,” DeWalt said.

“We dedicated all gameday activities to Johnny,” Funk said.