University Heights, Buffalo, NY

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Makeshift memorial at University Heights slaying scene, "law enforcement and the university are ineffective in policing the student population"

Buffalo News, November 03, 2009,

Peer into the few square yards of ground along Lisbon Avenue near Cordova Avenue and the tragic tale that unfolded there at 4:30 a. m. Saturday tells itself.
A dozen or so flickering votive candles surrounded by bouquets of flowers, a football and pictures and messages of love and friendship are what you see first.
But a closer look Monday evening — 2 1/2 years later— painted a more sinister picture of the events leading up to the death of 19-year-old Jacob Herbert, a 2008 graduate of Clarence High School.
Just over the sidewalk from the memorial, remnants of medical equipment —a pair of syringes; an empty box of atropine sulfate, an injection to treat cardiac arrest; an intubator; and spent roll of gauze tape — were left behind the grass.
A few steps down the street, empty cognac and rum bottles lie just off the sidewalk.
Herbert, according to law enforcement authorities, was one of a dozen or so people who returned to a house party at 112 Lisbon Ave. that police had shut down twice earlier that night. Herbert was stabbed multiple times during an argument that erupted as the third party let out.
Despite the trail of evidence that paramedics attempted to save Herbert’s life, the teen died.
Now, neighbors and friends are left wondering why.
Why wasn’t the party shuttered after police first broke it up around midnight? Why did it continue after they dispersed partiers again 90 minutes later? Why were no arrests made? Why was the party allowed to rekindle a third time?
“That’s a question for the kids,” said Michael J. DeGeorge, Buffalo police spokesman. “Who persisted and came back?”
DeGeorge said authorities first responded at about midnight after fielding 911 calls from neighbors concerning loud noise.
Police arrived to find a “large house party” described by De- George not as a “college, fraternity or University at Buffalo party” but rather a “mixed group party” consisting of “upwards of 200 people.”
Officers “shut down the party” and ordered revelers to “disperse and go home,” DeGeorge said.
After receiving more complaints, they returned at about 1:30 a. m. and did the same thing.
But the party reconvened again later that morning.
“For whatever reason, certain individuals persisted and came back to the party,” De- George said. “The victim and a few other people came back to the party.
“About 4:30 a. m., there were 15-20 people there. Most of the people were leaving and some type of argument broke out between Herbert and some individual. Herbert was stabbed multiple times.”
Herbert is the city’s 50th homicide victim of 2009. A woman acquaintance of Herbert, who said her name was Danielle, visited the memorial at dusk Monday. She called Herbert “very athletic and very popular.” She was not at Saturday’s party.
A 33-year-old next door neighbor who identified herself only as Mrs. L. Randle said student rowdiness is disruptive to the neighborhood — particularly toher— the mother of a newborn.
“The college students are out of control,” Randle said. “They’re all up and down the street screaming and hollering.”
Claiming law enforcement and the university are ineffective in policing the student population, Randle believes their methods — or lack thereof — culminated in Saturday’s events.
“They need to talk to the kids and the parents about partying,” Randle said, “and there should be a penalty when they don’t act right.”
No connection seems to exist, however, between UB and Herbert or the hosts of the party.
Still, some mourners who gathered at the memorial Monday evening also said Buffalo and university police need to work more closely to curb rowdy, and sometimes violent, behavior.
“Don’t you feel like this is something that could have been prevented?” asked one neighbor who wouldn’t give his name. “[Police] should have never left the scene.”
Another who identified himself only as “Kevin” was disturbed not only by the violence but also by the medical items left behind at the scene, calling it “sloppy” and “disrespectful” for the family of Herbert who gathered to mourn there Sunday.
Jay Smith, spokesman for Rural/Metro Medical Services, said crews clean up after themselves unless they’re specifically asked not to by police but added that the scene Saturday morning was especially “chaotic.” Herbert’s condition was so dire, Smith said, that two paramedics worked on him during transport to Erie County Medical Center.
“Because of the patient’s condition . . . they didn’t stick around the scene very long.”

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