Father of ODU Rugby player brutally attacked: “We figured he was safe, I guess I was wrong”

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Norfolk, Va. - A 19-year-old man has been arrested for his involvement in the November 2nd assault that injured three ODU Rugby players.

Chris D. Slade was arrested Tuesday, November 18th and charged with three counts of Malicious Wounding.

The incident happened outside of a home on Melrose Street where several members of the Rugby Club had gathered to celebrate Halloween.

ODU rugby team coach Mike Herron told NewsChannel 3 that a group of people who were not a part of ODU or ODU students, tried to get into the party. When they were denied entry, one of the suspects picked up a chair and threw it at the window, shattering it.

ODU rugby players went outside to see what happened, and that’s when they were allegedly attacked by the suspects.

ODU rugby captain Michael Rigual was beat up so badly, his father, Roly Rigual told NewsChannel 3 his jaw was broken, he had blood in his lungs and five teeth were either knocked out or removed.

"Our son is a pretty large male. We figured he was a smart kid and doesn't get into trouble or anything," Roly said. "We figured he can take care of himself and he would be safe, I guess I was wrong."

Roly says his son was transferred from Sentara Norfolk General to a rehabilitation center in Washington DC, but just this week Michael was able to go home.

"My wife and I got through this week, but now we have him at home. We feel like we are on the next phase of this whole process starting to get him recovered as slowly as we can," he added.

Roly says Michael's recovery is going to be a long one. He says Michael requires 24-hour supervision due to some minor cognitive issues from the brain trauma. He says Michael also has about a year of reconstructive surgery ahead of him along with outpatient physical and cognitive therapy three times a week. Michael says he will not be returning back to ODU.

"I obviously don't feel it's safe," he said.

Club president Robert Sokol will need future surgery on a facial fracture. River Piercy was treated and released.

Police say they have not released Slade's mugshot because the investigation is ongoing.

As for off-campus safety, an ODU spokesperson released the following statement Friday:

"Old Dominion University is committed to providing a safe environment for our students. As a result of this incident that occurred at an off-campus residence, Old Dominion and Norfolk police immediately stepped-up patrols in Norfolk to include tactical, K-9 and bike patrol units. The swift action of police in investigating this crime has resulted in one arrest. We condemn this senseless act of violence against a member of our community, and through our partnership with the City of Norfolk, we are taking proactive measures to further enhance off-campus safety."

15 comments

  • ck

    “Police say they have not released Slade’s mugshot because the investigation is ongoing”

    Uh-huh. Now tell us the REAL reason they won’t release his mugshot. Nevermind, we already know.

  • cass mesiner

    too bad students weren’t issued a warning before this incident, considering it isn’t the first time this group of people committed a crime like this…may not have happened, but i guess ODU is more worried about bad press…shameful!

    • Andrew

      I just moved away from Norfolk due to this exact type of incident. Violence and aggression is rampant throughout the “urban” community. ODU as an organization is corrupt and vile in the way they address local residents that suffer from their negligence. Let this be a warning to those living in Hampton Roads. Keep your children away from ODU.

  • frankpdontknow

    why don’t they tell anyone the race of the attackers?–hiding something AGAIN?
    bet they were not even students at the school
    school security?–only after the fact, then covered up as much as possible
    then Norfolk is always twisting the words or events to hide or cover up as much as possible

    • frankpdontknow

      oops there it is– the 3 people charged, but it wasn’t their fault, it was our fault for neglecting them for so long
      see the liberal twist on words coming out of your progressive liberal’s mouth to blame the students for not letting them in

  • Preston

    Its kind of a catch 22 for odu staff. They want too tell people to be safe but if they do that then they have to explain that its not safe and people wont come to odu in the first place if its not safe. The truth is that norfolk is a horribly unsafe outside of a really nice neighborhood called Ghent.

  • daniel G

    Saying the Rugby house is “off campus” is a joke and a cop out. I lived next door to these guys and it is literally and i mean literally located across the street from campus (10 second walk). I was also attacked and lost 3 teeth nearby with the information I gave the campus police all they had to do to catch the culprit was doing a small investigation regarding the lead I gave them but nothing came from it. As an alumni I will NOT allow my future children to attend this university.

    • daniel G

      Oh and I forgot to add but campus police was very quick to give me a fake running a stop sign ticket that never occurred (won in court).

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