9 Sahuarita wrestlers arrested in assault (with jail mugs)

2013-01-17T16:30:00Z 2013-01-17T16:48:42Z 9 Sahuarita wrestlers arrested in assault (with jail mugs)Veronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 17, 2013 4:30 pm  • 

Several Sahuarita High School wrestlers are facing kidnapping and aggravated assault charges in connection with an incident at the school, police said.

The incident happened Tuesday evening in the locker room of the school where a group of students were seen forcing another student to the ground and assaulting him, Sgt. Matt McGlone, a spokesman for the Sahuarita Police Department said in a news release.

The victim was not on the wrestling team.

Police were notified of the incident Wednesday morning.

Police confirmed that among the allegations is that the boy's pants were pulled down during the attack.

Interviews conducted by police indicates the assault was a bullying or hazing incident.

Police are still investigating to determine "the exact nature of the event," the release said.

Nine students, including three who are 18 years old, are facing charges.

The three 18-year-olds, Andres Vasquez of Amado, and Jorge Loya-Lopez and Marcus Stitts, of Sahuarita, were booked into Pima County jail.

Police notified the district Tuesday night and provided more details about its investigation Wednesday morning, said Manuel Valenzuela, Sahuarita Unified School District superintendent.

The nine suspects were not in school Thursday, although Valenzuela would not elaborate on whether the group was suspended.

Valenzuela did not provide any additional details about the incident, saying the school district will wait for the police to complete its investigation before conducting its own probe.

“All of details related to the district investigation is on hold,” he said.

Once the district begins its investigation, officials will look at the evidence and determine if the students will be punished and the severity of the disciplinary action, he said.

Disciplinary action can range from a 10-day suspension to expulsion from the district, he said.

“We’ll determine what the weight of the evidence suggests and the facts will be evaluated,” he said.

Valenzuela said he did not know where the coach was during the incident, but adults are usually nearby while students are in the locker room.

All three adults were honorable mention All-Southern Arizona wrestler picks by the Star last year.

The investigation is ongoing and police are conducting more interviews.

It is not known how many people participated in the incident.

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