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Police report unclear on fight details

Sheila Flynn | Thursday, September 25, 2003

The Notre Dame students and local residents involved in a Sept. 19 fight in downtown South Bend gave police conflicting reports of what provoked the incident, said South Bend Police Captain John Williams.

A University spokesman also said the school does not plan to investigate the incident, which Irish Guard members say involved two Guardsmen. Meanwhile, the director of the marching band cautioned all band members Tuesday to avoid placing themselves in precarious situations without specifically mentioning the Sept. 19 brawl.

Williams, who said Monday he was unaware of a police report outlining the incident, said his staff located the report Tuesday.

The report states that Patrolman Christopher Bortone responded to a call referencing a fight on East Wayne Street, Williams said. By the time Bortone arrived, the fight had been broken up.

“All parties involved were very uncooperative, and the stories they were telling to me were not making sense,” Bortone said in the report. “The stories I was getting were conflicting on both sides.”

The report said three Notre Dame students were injured in the brawl: John Raih, a member of the Irish Guard; Frank Krakowski, a member of the swim team; and senior Stephen Trautmann. Another Guard member, Drew Dewalt, said he was present but is not named in the police report.

“They said they were just standing on the corner when a black Mercedes pulled up, and these three guys got out and they started a fight,” Williams said.

The three Mishawaka residents involved in the confrontation were Jacob Fogle, Gregory Eller and Niv Taunaholo.

“The three suspects said Stephen threw a piece of pizza on the hood of the black Mercedes,” Williams said.

The suspects said this angered them, and according to Williams, they stopped their car and addressed the Notre Dame students before a fight erupted.

DeWalt, however, said the attack was “unprovoked.”

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

DeWalt said another car, filled with the suspects’ friends, also stopped, and its occupants joined in the assault against the Notre Dame students. These additional assailants were not named in the report.

No arrests were made and no charges have been filed.

The report said that Trautmann “had a large bump on his forehead,” Raih “had a busted lip and nose” and Krakowski “had been punched in the face and had some of his teeth busted out,” Williams said.

Raih’s injuries prevented him from marching with the Irish Guard Saturday.

University spokesman Matt Storin said the administration is “obviously concerned about the injuries to one of our students.”

Band directors discussed the incident with Guard members Tuesday, but Storin said Notre Dame is not investigating the incident because it happened off campus and no criminal charges have been filed.

Band director Kenneth Dye addressed the marching band Wednesday night in what some band members described as an uncommon speech. Although Dye did not specifically mention the fight, he cautioned band members against being in the wrong place at the wrong time.