Fight on University of Toledo campus ends with 1 dead, 1 seriously hurt; knife recovered

12/21/2012
BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A University of Toledo student found dead Wednesday night outside of his campus residence hall died of two stab wounds to his neck inflicted during a fight with a fellow student, authorities said Thursday.

Josiah Galat.
Josiah Galat.

Josiah Galat, 20, of Mansfield, Ohio, was stabbed on the left and right sides of his neck, said Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, a Lucas County deputy coroner who performed the autopsy.

Dr. Scala-Barnett said Mr. Galat had defense wounds on his body.

RELATED: Toledo area homicides database

Mr. Galat’s roommate, Erik Littleton, 19, of Detroit, suffered several stab wounds. University police said the fight broke out in a second-floor stairwell at the Horton International House on the west side of campus.

Mr. Littleton, a sophomore in the engineering program, was taken to Toledo Hospital with multiple stab wounds. A spokesman had no information on the patient’s condition, although UT officials described his injuries as serious.

University of Toledo Police Chief Jeff Newton said officers have not been able to speak with Mr. Littleton to learn what caused the fight or who started it.

No charges have been filed.

“These individuals both had reason to be there. They were staying there, they had IDs, and had checked in, and had a dispute,” said Larry Burns, vice president for external affairs. “It’s important to realize that UT’s campus is very safe, but unfortunately, these things occur and we’re very saddened by that.”

The two men, who elected to stay on campus during winter break, had been roommates at the residence hall since Saturday, at the earliest, university officials said.

Students who wanted to remain on campus had to be out of their usual residence hall by Saturday, although they didn’t necessarily have to move into the International House, the only open hall during the Christmas break, that day, university spokesman Jon Strunk said.

Chief Newton said police believe the two men were together earlier in the evening and were inside the residence hall around 9 p.m.

At 9:02 p.m., a 911 call was made by a person who had no part in the incident and reported a “person down,” reports indicate.

Police arrived at the hall at 9:06 p.m., and found Mr. Littleton four minutes later in a “bloody state” outside the building, Chief Newton said.

The Toledo Fire Department also responded and provided treatment before taking Mr. Littleton to the hospital.

Officers set up a perimeter around the residence hall before their investigation determined that the fight did not involve other people.

“We didn’t know what we had at first, and that’s when the second individual [Mr. Galat] was found on the other side of the International House,” Chief Newton said.

Police said Mr. Galat was found at 9:23 p.m.

University of Toledo Police Chief Jeff Newton says investigators have not learned what caused the fight.
University of Toledo Police Chief Jeff Newton says investigators have not learned what caused the fight.

About 20 minutes later, an emergency bulletin was transmitted via text message and email to anyone enrolled in the university’s alert database. It announced a “dangerous situation” at the hall and urged people to stay away, officials said.

Chief Newton said the remaining people in the building, which housed six students, four staff members, and four student workers during break, were not evacuated. Police determined fairly early in the investigation that Mr. Galat and Mr. Littleton were the only two involved in the fight and that there was no apparent threat of danger, he said.

Police recovered a knife at the scene, but declined to describe it further or say whether more than one weapon was used.

“There is nothing we could have done to prevent this,” Chief Newton said.

UT officials sent out an email to students, faculty, staff, and parents to explain what happened and to reassure them that university officials are committed to a safe environment.

Mr. Galat transferred to the University of Toledo in the fall semester, Mr. Strunk said.

Before that he was enrolled at Ashland University, where he was a member of the diving team, according to the university’s Web site.

Staff writer Mike Sigov contributed to this report.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.