April 10, 2013

Two arrests in beating of WSU professor

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Two suspects in last month’s brutal attack on a WSU instructor have been arrested.

An anonymous tip from Western Washington led Pullman authorities to 21-year-old Madeline A. Fouts, a Washington State University student living in Pullman. Investigators questioned Fouts this morning and arrested her around 12:30 p.m. for rendering criminal assistance and making false statements. She was later released and is cooperating with investigators, authorities said.

Joshua W. Nantz, 23, also a WSU student, was arrested this evening, according to a news release from Pullman police. He was asked to come to the police department and was arrested there on suspicion of first-degree assault. Police are still following leads to capture two other men suspected in the attack.

Police Chief Gary Jenkins said Fouts is the woman in the surveillance footage shared by the department and was labeled a suspect in the assault that has left David Warner in critical condition at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

Jenkins said all four of the suspects were linked to the assault through surveillance footage taken at Adams Mall, but other suspects still are being sought, said Jenkins.

Today’s arrests come a day after Washington State University President Elson Floyd offered a $10,000 reward. Pullman Police have been circulating video surveillance of the minutes leading up to the assault hoping the community can identify possible witnesses and suspects.

Police believe Warner was drinking the night of the assault, but his blood-alcohol amounts have not been released.

Warner reportedly intervened in an escalating argument between a friend and a group of people, but he was assaulted and fell to the ground. Surveillance footage caught portions of the fight, but once Warner fell to the ground, the view was blocked by a parked car.

Jenkins said Warner’s friend could not remember the moments leading up to the fight or why punches were thrown. Investigators believe alcohol was a factor for the lack of memory and this left out valuable testimony regarding the context of the fight.

Jenkins doubts that the assault was racially motivated, but instead – alcohol was likely a factor.

Associate professor David Leonard is Warner’s supervisor at the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies in Wilson Hall. Leonard believes alcohol and party culture is a national issue, but this incident is an extreme manifestation bringing to light more issues on campus.

President Floyd said Tuesday the attack brings out an underlying fear and anger in the community that race and marginalation is an issue. He also said he’s disturbed by the injuries Warner suffered and by the silence of the community in reporting information that could help investigators sooner.

Floyd also announced his intent to start a “Commission on Campus Climate” to talk about the issues and find long-term solutions.

The attack has also fueled a support page for Warner on Facebook garnering more than 2,000 members. A website has also raised more than $16,000 to pay for Warner’s medical bills.

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