ODU student jumped outside of bar unhappy with how the school handled investigation

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NORFOLK — A night out at The Edge took a violent turn for an Old Dominion University student when he was jumped by a group outside of the nightclub.

ODU Senior Tyler Williams, 21, said he was attacked by a group of men in the early hours of Dec. 12 as he was leaving the bar.

Williams, who once frequented the bar located at 4814 Hampton Blvd., said he was at the nightclub that evening as a guest for an employee function.

“Everyone who was there was an employee or a friend of an employee,” he said.

The Edge is located across the street from ODU’s main campus, however, the university does not own the establishment. The Edge does fall within the jurisdiction of the Old Dominion University Police Department.

“It’s been part of ODU for years and everyone from alumni to those that don’t even go to ODU associate the bar with the school,” Williams said via text.

A short walk home

Williams was already having a rough night before he got jumped.

He’d been drinking at the bar with friends when he got into an argument with a man — the same person he believes lead the attack.

Williams decided to leave the club sometime after midnight. He was getting ready to walk to his off-campus home when a friend called him back into the club and asked him to cash out a bar tab.

While Williams was cashing out the tab, he and his friend began to argue. Williams decided it was definitely time to call it a night.

While he was still in The Edge, the same person he’d argued with earlier shoved him. Williams walked outside, and the man followed him with a group in tow.

Williams told the men to leave him alone or they’d be facing a lawsuit, according to documents filed in Norfolk Circuit Court.

Williams and the group were talking when a man “sucker punched” him from behind, he said. The strike sent him to the ground.

While he lay on the sidewalk, a group kicked and punched him in the head until he was unconscious, court documents state.

Williams said he woke up some time later in the emergency room to staples being put into his head. His eye and nose were fractured. Months later, Williams said he can’t put pressure on a certain part of his head without losing balance.

Court documents detail the attack as recorded by a surveillance camera at the intersection of 49th Street and Hampton Boulevard.

The footage, which was taken around 12:21 a.m., shows a man talking with a group of men outside The Edge before he was tackled and thrown to the ground. Two men kicked him until he was unconscious while three others watched.

After the man passed out, one of the men dragged his body about 40 feet away from the front of the nightclub and left him there.

A slow investigation

Williams said he reported the attack in person to an ODU patrol officer who came to the emergency room. After the initial report, he reached out to the officer, who Williams said brushed him off.

“I tried to get a hold of the officer to give him evidence, but he kept saying he was busy,” he said. “I was angry and ashamed.”

About a week after the attack, Williams and his parents became frustrated with the pace of the investigation. His mother and father took action, emailing ODU President John Broderick and ODU police chief Rhonda Harris.

They wanted answers.

Broderick never answered the email, but Harris responded apologetically and put a detective on the case, Williams said.

“She asked me to be patient,” he said, adding that he’s afraid the school waited too long to begin the investigation. “It’s been a terrible experience. I heard nothing from the school.”

On Jan. 7, an ODU detective went to The Edge to look at security footage from the night of the attack only to find out that it no longer exists. The club’s security system only saves footage in seven-day blocks, court documents state.

Williams believes the detective was about three weeks too late. Now he’s worried his attackers will never be arrested.

“I’m not pleased with how the university or ODUPD handled this,” Williams said. “I was very angry at myself and everyone involved … it feels like it won’t be solved.”

A spokesperson for ODU confirmed that the case is still under investigation, but declined to comment further.

Management at The Edge declined to comment on the case.

Mayfield can be reached at adrienne.m@southsidedaily.com.