New report of possible hate crime near UT

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by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

khou.com

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 7:16 PM

AUSTIN -- One year after reports of people throwing bleach-filled balloons at minority students near the University of Texas, a new incident emerged this week in West Campus.

Around 5 p.m. Thursday UT junior Bryan Davis was walking near 23rd and Pearl Street when he heard a loud "pop."

“It felt like the attention of the entire West Campus area was on me for that moment, and I wanted to get away. It was embarrassing, and I remember looking around to see if anyone had seen what had happened, and I just kind of went into shock,” Davis told KVUE.

He says he looked down and saw someone had thrown a balloon at him. The liquid stung his leg.

“It was one of those things like, 'Did this just happen?’”

Davis believes someone threw a bleach-filled balloon from the balcony of the University Towers apartment building across the street.

“I looked up, and I might have seen the back of someone's head up there, but by the time I looked up no one was there,” he said.

It's the same area where another UT student says someone targeted them with a bleach-filled balloon in 2012.

Austin police investigated a total of four of the possible hate crimes last year.

“Filling a balloon full of bleach and throwing it at somebody is not a prank. It can get somebody hurt,” said Corporal David Boyd with the Austin Police Department.

Those cases have been suspended since police were “waiting for the victim to bring in evidence and they never did."

Now, however, there's a new investigation. “We want to catch whoever's doing this and make sure it doesn't happen anymore,” said Boyd.

UT Dean of Student Soncia Reagins-Lilly has contacted Davis to tell him they are taking this matter very seriously, and the University of Texas Police Department is also investigating.

Davis says he hopes the incident will spur an open and honest conversation with other students on campus and in the community so these attacks stop once and for all.

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