Home / National News / Frat Party Violence Escalates at Arizona State University


(TEMPE, Ariz.) — In the latest instance of what has become a persistent problem in the Tempe, Ariz., area, five people were arrested at a fraternity brawl near Arizona State University, which police say involved baseball bats and gunfire.

Tempe police say a party at the Delta Kappa Epsilon apartment complex came to a violent end early Sunday morning after two non-students were attacked by fraternity members during a fight over a woman. Much of the incident was captured by surveillance cameras.

One of the fraternity’s members remains in intensive care Wednesday, and police expect more arrests in addition to the five people already charged. The arrests are the latest incident as a university and city try to reign in a party culture that some say is getting out of hand.

The fight, which began with a shoving match at the party, was captured by security cameras, and newly released 911 tapes reveal the incident’s escalation.

“Somebody came in with a baseball bat and smashed somebody in the face,” a caller told the 911 dispatcher. “You need to get over here right now.”

At that point, gunshots were fired. The ensuing panic sent hundreds who were at the party running for their lives. No one was shot. Three of the alleged attackers remain in custody on Wednesday. Two others were booked on misdemeanor charges of trespassing. But Arizona State University’s neighbors say they’ve had enough.

“Eight months of constant partying, constant underage drinking … the cops may show up but they never got shut down. The music was always going,” one neighbor told ABC News.

Since ASU closed all on-campus Greek housing in 2012, the fraternities and sororities have filled nearby apartment complexes. Since then, neighbors say crime, loud parties, and violence have skyrocketed.

“You have parties that grow to 50-plus people and they are drunk. It can feel threatening,” a neighbor said.

At the same apartments where this weekend’s melee took place, two rival fraternities were caught on tape brawling it out last November. In March, two female students were hospitalized for burns after police say someone at the party threw a bottle of alcohol into an open fire, causing an explosion.

“The bottom line is, we’re going to respond, and we’re going to take care of the situation,” Tempe Council Member Joe Navarro said. “And we want our residents to know that they live in a safe area.”

Arizona State officials say they are working with off campus fraternities to move them back on campus by the fall semester. Delta Kappa Epsilon tells ABC News that their members were attacked unprovoked and there was no fraternity party in the apartment complex the night in question.

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