Simpson students react to attacks near campus

Indianola Police and Simpson College’s security office are investigating a series of assaults near campus.

Police say the attacks happened near Irving Elementary School, the Detroit apartment building and Buxton residence hall.

In an e-mail to students, staff and faculty on Wednesday, Jim Thorius, vice president of Student Development and dean of students, reported that three Simpson students were assaulted in two different incidents.

According to the e-mail, four or five males drove past and verbally harassed the students.

In these cases, “several of the occupants of the vehicle got out of the vehicle and attempted to physically assault the students. Following a brief altercation, the individuals got back into their vehicle and drove off,” the e-mail reported.

The students did not require medical attention.

Two other incidents were also reported. One student was reportedly verbally harassed near Irving Elementary. In a different incident, two students were verbally harassed by occupants of a vehicle near Buxton Residence Hall. Several of the occupants got out of the vehicle, but the students entered Buxton before further altercation took place.

Local police reports show that several similar incidents have occurred throughout the Indianola community that did not involve Simpson students.

Police believe the same suspects may be involved in all of the reported incidents.

In the e-mail, Thorius encouraged students and staff to take extra safety precautions, including walking in pairs or groups at night.

The Simpson security department has additional staff for evening shifts and can provide escorts to students walking across campus.

Thorius also expressed the importance of reporting any suspicious activity or people to the security department.

Detective Sergeant, Brian Sher, says the Indianola Police department has four solid suspects, all male between the ages of 18 and 20.

“We’re hoping to have arrests made before the weekend,” Sher told The Simpsonian on Thursday. “We will put an end to this. We will be issuing warrants for their arrests tomorrow.”

He said that the assaults have been completely random.

“They didn’t target anyone in particular except for convenience,” Sher said. “They were looking for a fight.”

According to Sher, the police department has reason to believe that all of the assaults on campus are related.

“Each assault revolves around this common nucleus of suspects,” Sher said. “We just don’t know if they were all involved in every assault incident.”

The Indianola Police department has interviewed more than 10 people with information about the assaults, and will be issuing warrants for arrests Friday, according to Sher.

Sher said the group of suspects are not part of a gang, nor are the attacks gang-related.

– Kathryn Lisk, Hannah Pickett & Emily Schettler contributed to this article.