Brawl at BP leaves man hospitalized

A fight occurred at the BP on The Strip early Sunday morning. One man left the scene in an ambulance. / CW | Daniel Roth

A large-scale fight at the BP gas station just off campus left a window shattered and a man hospitalized, according to paramedics and eyewitness reports.

An unidentified man believed to be around 20 years old sustained injuries and was taken to Druid City Hospital by ambulance after a multiple-person fight broke out at the University Boulevard BP early Sunday, Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service Lt. Travis Parker said.

“We responded to a call at BP at 2:22 a.m.,” Parker said. Though he didn’t elaborate on the man’s condition, he said paramedics accompanied the man to the hospital.

“We typically don’t ride in with the person unless there’s an issue,” he said. “Witnesses on the scene said the patient was involved in a fight with multiple people, and he was kicked and punched in the head several times. He was conscious when he was taken to the hospital.”

Tuscaloosa Police Department Spokesman Brent Blankley said police units that had been patrolling the University area responded to the assault call at 2:25 a.m., and the investigation is ongoing. TPD could not provide the name of the hospitalized man by deadline.

An alumnus of the University witnessed the incident, but he preferred to be quoted as “James,” an assumed name. Otherwise, he said, he feared there might be retaliation from those involved in what he believed to be a gang-related fight due to the fact that he could have been seen giving information to policemen.

Blankley said there is no evidence indicating that a gang was involved. However, James said the policemen who arrived at the scene told him the opposite, adding that it would be treated as a homicide investigation.

A UA student who preferred to be quoted only by her first name also witnessed the episode and said she, too, believed it to be gang-related.

 “We [were walking] across the street from the BP, and my friend pointed out how many people were there,” Christen said. “It struck us as odd, but it was late at night, we didn’t think anything about it; it was gameday.

“I assume [the fight] was planned,” she said.

James, who is Christen’s friend, was inside BP when the fight broke out and later, he said, he saw the man who was taken to the hospital being beaten by about 10 people.

“All of a sudden, everybody in the parking lot just starts fighting,” James said. “There are people fighting everywhere and they’re all fighting each other.”

As James walked toward the door, one of the windows shattered, though he said he doesn’t know what caused it.

Blankley and Parker confirmed that there were no gunshots fired.

However, James said people began shouting that someone in the crowd had a gun.

“Someone says, ‘He’s got a gun, he’s got a gun,’ and everybody just starts scrambling,” he said.

James said he saw three men lying unconscious in the parking lot. Friends of two of the men put them into cars and took them away from the scene.

“Me and [the other man who was in the store] start walking at a fast pace trying to get out of there, and I see a guy laying on his side … He’s not moving, and people there are just running up to him and kicking him in the face.

“I see about 10 people kicking him while he’s down.”

After the crowd dispersed, James said he walked over to the man on the ground, hoping to provide help.

 “There’s blood everywhere, and right as I get to him, someone else runs up and kicks him in the face, and blood splatters everywhere, it gets all over my face,” he said.

 James said he began slapping the man hoping to help him regain consciousness.

“He’s bleeding out of the back of his head, bad, and his face is absolutely destroyed; he’s got blood all over him,” he said.  “There’s blood everywhere, and I’m on both of my knees on his left side, and he reaches up and grabs me by my shirt, so I kept telling him ‘You’re going to be all right.’”

After paramedics arrived, James said the policemen began questioning him as they roped off the BP. They asked James for a statement, but he said he’d prefer to wait until the next day because there were about 20 people, who looked like they may be involved, standing across the street.

“The cops told us they thought it was gang-related, but that they didn’t think [the people across the street] were going to do anything to us, but they understood that we didn’t want to give our statements then,” James said.

Christen said policemen have yet to contact James, though they said they would call him Sunday.

 “The cops never further questioned him, even though he and the other guy [a paramedic] were the only two real witnesses.”

James said he isn’t sure whether the investigation is still being treated as a homicide.

“I don’t know if the guy died,” he said. “He was breathing and alive when he got put into the ambulance. What happened after that … I don’t really want to know. It would just make it worse.”

Information regarding the man’s condition could not be obtained by deadline.

  • Anonybro

    Never thought Tuscaloosians would ever resort to gang violence, if that ‘s the actual case. Really disappointing.

  • Obama Nation

    This is what happens when you elect a black as pResident.

  • Chris

    @Obama Nation, yay, trolling’s fun.

    But honestly, just in terms of news dispersal, this story dropped 2 days ago, and there are many comments like “information could not be collected by deadline.” Could the information not be amended now that more time has been allowed to pass, and one would feel sure that the information has now been made public?

    C’mon CW…

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheCrimsonWhite Josh Hedrick

    @Chris

    –My name is Josh Hedrick and I am the assistant manager of the Crimson White’s Community Engagement Team. We monitor and manage the CW’s social media accounts as well as general outreach duties. We don’t usually interject on the website comments, but I just wanted to jump in on this.

    The Tuscaloosa Police Department has been, well, less than forthcoming with our reporters and editors. At the beginning of our investigation TPD’s statement to our reporters was that nothing happened at BP that night. It wasn’t until we collected a significant amount of information and took it to TPD that they even admitted that they did in fact respond to an assault charge at BP.

    As of our last contact with them, they were still unwilling to release the police report to us, citing “an ongoing investigation.” As soon as further information is made available to us we will publish a follow up article. We believe this is an important story and that students have the right to know about the things that affect them on- and off-campus. We will do everything we can to bring you the full story.

    We welcome any tips or information that anyone can provide. Info can be emailed to outreach@cw.ua.edu.

    Thanks for your concern Chris, and others. We appreciate you reading the CW, and for making sure we stay accountable to our readers.

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    How did the engine caught fire? What will be done to prevent this in the future? Gebe has got a monopoly on energy and water supply. If this wouldn’t be the case I wonder how many costumors GEBE would have. Power outages all the time. Every time there is another reason. Not to mention the prices the consumers have to pay. But hey, we just have to live with it I guess.

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    This is a great report that I rated up. I had a feeling about that chemical dispersant. It is pretty scary how in the end everyone finds out about everything anyway. “The proof if in the pudding,” so to speak.