When you think of college parties, you probably envision of cheap beer, loud music, crowded rooms, and one too many Instagram pictures with your friends.
But Castleton University students could not have imagined what happened on Saturday, Aug. 22.
“My thoughts when it happened were ‘oh look, drunk kids fighting, no biggie,’” said an 18-year-old freshman who was at the Mechanic Street party and who wishes to remain anonymous. “But then I saw the deep cut in his stomach and instantly thought “maybe, this isn’t the best place to be right now.”
According to police, Karl “Harry” Buch stabbed Jack Strohmeier in the stomach at an off-campus party at 40 Mechanic St.
Castleton Police Chief Peter Mantello said Strohmeier and Buch had been having an altercation for about a week prior to the incident.
“Harry was accused of domestically assaulting his girlfriend,” Mantello said in a recent interview.
“(Strohmeier) confronted him on it, and on Wednesday, there was an altercation that occurred where the defendant had threatened to harm the victim, Jack.”
“I think then Jack slapped him in the face, and then that was it. It dissipated, and everyone left,” the chief said.
The next day, Strohmeier found his car had been keyed, Mantello said. Assuming it was Buch who did it, Strohmeier was determined to confront Buch when he saw him at the party on Saturday. He grabbed him by the backpack and Buch swung around, Mantello said.
Mantello said Buch then stabbed Strohmeier and two other victims who were trying to break up the fight.
Buch has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault for stabbing Strohmeier, and two other victims, and has pleaded not guilty.
“I was scared, I didn’t really know what was going on,” said another 18-year-old freshman who was at the party and wishes to remain anonymous. “I didn’t know who was stabbing, where he was and if he was still stabbing people. I didn’t wanna get involved, and I was scared that I could’ve gotten hurt.”
Director of Public Safety Keith Molinari said discussions were had whether an email alert was necessary.
“It did not appear that there was an imminent threat as far as a blind stabbing – or someone just going around stabbing people – this was an altercation that took place,” he said. “Did we have a hostile intruder situation going on on-campus? I don’t believe that was the case. Basically, we have a situation of a dispute between students.”
By 1 a.m., Buch was in police custody without incident, Molinari said. Though Molinari was not present during the arrest, he said that Buch was cooperative and there was no further incident.
Abby Mayo, secretary of the senior class, was not present at the party, but was shocked when she heard the news.
“I was blown away that something like this happened in this community. It seemed really out of character for Castleton,” she said.
Mayo was not the only one taken aback.
“I was stunned. Nobody likes being awakened at two in the morning with a phone call like that,” said Castleton University President Jon Spiro. “I was angry, then I was embarrassed.”
The two other victims suffered only minor injuries, and Strohmeier is out of the hospital and doing well, according to Mantello.
“This is an anomaly for our campus. It’s disappointing that it occurred, but I think our student population is going to step up,” Molinari said.
Castleton Spartan editors Brendan Crowley and Ryan Boeke contributed to this report.