Violent student attacks spark CPS safety re-evaluations

Thompson Park, where senior Zach Spencer was attacked on Oct. 22. Joel Ray/Photo editor

It was about 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 22, and senior Zach Spencer “thought [he] was going to die.”

Spencer was one of the two students involved in violent attacks, which were reported by Campus Public Safety to have occurred last weekend.

Robert Cepeda, chief of CPS, sent an incident notice to students on Oct. 24, explaining the two assaults.

“Both of these off-campus incidents are currently under active investigation by the McMinnville Police Department, which has law enforcement jurisdiction,” Cepeda said.

Spencer was at Thompson Park on the day of the incident and was on the phone with a friend. A couple of seconds after hanging up, Spencer said two men came up from behind him and began to attack.

He said that he made attempts to fight back but “[he] couldn’t square up or even turn around.”

He said that at this point, the attackers had full control over his life.

“They ripped my shirt and were just completely controlling me, then they slammed me into the ground and smashed my head into the ground really hard,” Spencer said. “They threw a beanie over my head and said ‘If you make a sound, we’ll shoot you.’ [They] got me on my knees and at that moment I thought I was going to die.”

Spencer said that the attackers suddenly “grabbed the beanie and took off.”

“I just collapsed to the ground and didn’t want to look because I didn’t know if they were there,” he said. “I just didn’t want to move.”

Eventually, he picked himself off the ground and walked home.

The two men didn’t take anything from Spencer, so their motives are still unknown.

The motives were also unknown for the assault on senior Kole Krieger, who according to the incident notice, was attacked at 2:40 a.m. on Oct. 23 near Davis and Chandler streets by three Hispanic males with a baseball bat.

Krieger was taken to Willamette Valley Medical Center for a head injury, but has since been released.

CPS is not releasing any further information about the incident and efforts to contact Krieger for more information were unsuccessful.

In a campus safety update sent to all students by Susan L. Hopp, vice president of student affairs and athletics and dean of students, she highlighted the actions CPS plans to take to heighten security in response to the incidents.

CPS first plans to modify its patrol of Davis Street, which Cepeda said “for security reasons, we prefer not to divulge details of our procedures, but we will be bolstering our presence in the area.”

They will also work with the McMinnville Police Department, ASLC and the City of McMinnville to explore ideas, such as developing other types of patrol, providing taxi services for students and adding more adequate lighting on Davis Street.

Although Spencer said that this experience has changed him, his “sense of security is fine,” and he doesn’t see much that needs to be changed through CPS.

“They can’t really change much besides patrolling certain areas more,” he said. “I still feel safe walking around by myself. But when I see a group of girls walking around at night [and knowing that] they think nothing can happen to them, I know I thought nothing could happen to me, too. I just want people to be more aware. Campus safety can’t be there every second.”

Andra Kovacs/
News editor
Andra Kovacs can be reached at

1 Comment on Violent student attacks spark CPS safety re-evaluations

  1. Mark Johnson // November 1, 2011 at 10:20 am //

    WTF is going on in McMinnville. CPS is the main focus of this article but both attacks were off campus. What can CPS do to protect us off campus? Hell, what can they do to protect us on campus, they have no weapons, no visibility and little authority. Mac PD is better suited to deal with bat wielding Hispanics. All CPS can do is dial a phone to call Mac PD. Why not beef up the capabilities of CPS so we can police ourselves, not rely so heavily on Mac PD every time a theft, break in, harassment, assault happens?

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