TUCSON – Witnesses recorded a pistol-whipping on the UA campus but, police say, no one bothered to call 911 until hours later.
“We had a crime in progress and nobody called in,” UAPD Chief Brian Seastone told the News 4 Tucson Investigators. “We did not get a call about this until about four o’clock in the morning, so one to three hours later.”
There are three emergency call boxes close by. The incident happened between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Sept. 9, outside the 6th St. Garage. According to UA Police Department reports, the attack was related to an argument that occurred earlier during a party at a nearby off-campus house. The argument escalated across the street outside the garage. Suddenly, a black car pulled up, and several people carrying semi-automatic handguns got out. The man in the white t-shirt and the woman in the burgundy top approached a man in a black tank-top. The pistol-whipping isn’t easy to see, but you can hear the gun hitting the victim’s head.
Police say the unidentified victim is a UA student. He took several stitches to the head. Four days later police arrested both alleged attackers who they say are not UA students, and charged them with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. The man in the white t-shirt is active military, an Army Specialist at Fort Huachuca, according to an Army spokesperson. He’s been identified as 21-year-old Saabir Aalim Kee. Police say the woman in the burgundy top is his wife, 26-year-old Letrice Kee.
“They drove by, they saw this going on, thought that they would get out and see what was going on. Absolutely completely random, Chief Seastone said.
The attackers apparently didn’t know the victim but may have been friends with another man involved in the argument. Because after the attack, a witness is seen shaking Kee’s hand, thanking him.
The video was sent to us and to UA Police on a thumb drive along with a letter signed “Concerned Citizens for a Safer U of A.” The anonymous authors make several allegations against UA police, mainly that they tried to keep the pistol whipping quiet by not making an emergency campus notification. Chief Seastone said, “There was not an immediate threat that we could determine to the institution. It was evaluated and that’s why the email alert did not go out.
The letter also alleges that the U of A’s non-emergency voice mailbox was full so callers could not leave a message. “There was a technological issue,” Seastone said. “Our tips and information line, which is not used for emergency information, was full.” He said the problem was immediately fixed once it became know. But again, Seastone says no one immediately called 911 in what was certainly an emergency.
The anonymous letter also claims that the incident was not, as required by law, listed on the UAPD Daily Activity Log until three days later. Seastone said, “The link for some reason did not work. And it did not get uploaded. It has been uploaded. There was no cover-up whatsoever, we had two technical issues.”
Seastone says he wouldn’t change anything based on the available information police had. And he hopes in the future, while taking video is helpful in identifying suspects, witnesses make an immediate call.
“Please if you see somebody in distress, call 911. That’s the important message here,” Seastone said.
U of A Police says they do expect to more arrests in this case. We’ll keep you posted.
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