Student Arrested After Altercation in Rec Center

Photo Credit / Sean Mickalitis The suspect allegedly started a fight on the Mattioli Recreation Center's basketball court before a staff member stepped in.

Sean Mickalitis

News Editor

An ESU student faces criminal charges after alleged strangulation of an employee at the Mattioli Recreation Center on Feb. 5.

According to a campus police affidavit, the suspect is being charged with strangulation and disorderly conduct after witnesses claimed he attacked staff member and student Michael Ciampoli.

The suspect was starting fights with other people on the basketball court, and in response to his actions, one of the gym members asked the staff to speak with the defendant, the report said.

Ciampoli was helping an injured player in the basketball court when he learned of the commotion, according to Ciampoli.   

While Ciampoli was filing an incident report for the gym member, he approached the suspect and asked him to calm down, or he would be asked to leave, but the suspect became belligerent and hostile, the report said.

“I was filling out the report and trying to calm him down. Next thing I knew, he walked in front of me, got behind and got on top of me,” Ciampoli said. “He got on me, gave me a bear hug and started strangling me.”

The suspect allegedly shoved Ciampoli to the floor and placed both hands around the victim’s neck, causing asphyxiation.

It took several members of the rec center to remove the suspect from Ciampoli, the report said.

“I was running down the court playing my game, and then, I heard somebody yell, ‘get off, get off. Let him go.’ We all looked, and the suspect has the staff member in a headlock,” said senior Billy Trice. “It was a weird and crazy situation because no one would expect that to happen in the rec center.”

“Luckily, I had people there that got him off me quick enough, and I’m thankful for them,” Ciampoli said.

Riley Montgomery, a student and staff member who helped pull the suspect from Ciampoli, said that after they separated the two men, the suspect headed towards the exit. The staff thought the man was leaving, but he then continued to argue with the workers.

It wasn’t until the staff told the suspect that the police were on their way that he decided to leave, according to Montgomery

Campus police later arrested the suspect.

The defendant was unable to post the $500 bail and is in jail awaiting formal arraignment scheduled for April. 3.

The suspect has a criminal record dating back to 2015 and was involved in an incident last year.

In addition to the altercation this month, he is facing charges for simple assault, disorderly conduct, harassment and retail theft in an event that happened last September. The defendant is awaiting sentencing.

“I’m super grateful for the people who were there, and that helped me,” Ciampoli said.

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