Charles Bonnet

Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

APD and UTPD officers both received calls from someone who said she witnessed a woman being forced into a black pickup truck Tuesday morning, and, though UTPD officers are investigating, no missing person has been identified thus far.

According to Veneza Bremner, APD public information officer, APD officers received a call between 1 and 2 a.m. Tuesday night from a woman who said she had viewed a suspicious incident at the intersection of 25th and San Antonio streets. APD officers went to the scene but did not find evidence that a crime had occurred.

“Officers responded to the call, but they weren’t able to locate a car or anything in the area,” APD commander David Mahoney said. “If it’s not there, there’s really nothing to go on. They weren’t able to find anything to follow up with.”

Roughly eight hours later, the same woman, who asked police to protect her anonymity, called UTPD and elaborated on the incident she claimed to have witnessed. According to UTPD spokeswoman Cynthia Posey, the caller said she thought she saw a woman being forced into the pickup truck by two men around 1 a.m. Posey said the caller was unable to elaborate on the woman’s appearance.

Lt. Charles Bonnet, who supervises UTPD’s criminal investigation unit, said the new details the woman provided were enough to convince UTPD to contact APD and open a full investigation.

“All I can tell you is that a student was concerned enough to call UTPD, and we owe it to our students to fully investigate the matter — just to make sure there’s nothing going on,” Bonnet said. “We have open lines of communication with APD, and the information they had last night was less than what we got today from the caller.”

Bonnet said the case still offered many unanswered questions, and the legitimacy of the reports has yet to be determined.

“There’s no proof that a crime occurred, but there is a suspicious act that was reported,” Bonnet said. “We don’t know what this was. It could have been a criminal violation, or it could have been something as simple as students pulling a prank. There’s just no telling.”

According to Bonnet, UTPD’s investigation has included checking for surveillance camera footage at the intersection, though he declined to say whether these attempts were successful.

“We’re going through other investigatory steps, trying to see if there’s video in the area,” Bonnet said. “The next best thing beyond that is to try and get any witnesses. Hopefully, someone saw what was going on or was actually involved themselves — and can tell us, ‘hey, that was me, it was no big deal.’”

There is a University Federal Credit Union ATM near the intersection. A representative from the Credit Union said most of the company’s ATM do have cameras, but said she could not confirm this particular ATM had footage.

Posey said UTPD emailed subscribers to its CampusWatch email list in order to gather more information about the incident.

“The reason we put it out there was so we could get more information,” Posey said. “We’ve done everything within our power to investigate this; we’ve been working on it all day.”

Bonnet said he did not want to hypothesize on whether the event was related to the power outages that affected large areas of West Campus for roughly half an hour, which began a few minutes after midnight Tuesday morning. 

“I couldn’t speculate about that,” Bonnet said. “The information we have is so minimal right now that it’s hard for us to say what exactly this did have to deal with.”

If you have information about this incident, please contact UTPD at 512-471-4441 and ask to speak to the Criminal Investigations Unit.

Additional reporting by Julia Brouillette

According to UTPD Sgt. Charles Bonnet, the students who overpowered 22-year-old Chenxi Deng after he used a fork to stab graduate student Li You in the nose last week were gutsy, but trying to be the hero isn’t always sensible. 

“We’re not going to take a stance saying everyone should get physically involved if you see something happening.” Bonnet said. “We leave that up to an individual’s morality, their own physical fitness. If you see something happening — if it means making a phone call, that’s what it means. These individuals felt comfortable subduing this guy, and it worked out in this case, but it might not always.”

Bonnet said the students acted heroically. 

“I don’t think there’s any other way to describe their actions,” Bonnet said. “The main point is that we’re all in this together in terms of campus safety. Whether its reported crimes or suspicious activities, we want to encourage a spirit of cooperation. This is just one way that manifested itself, but we’re not saying it’s the best way or the right way.”

Electrical engineering senior Shangheng Wu was one of several witnesses named in the police affidavit. Although Wu was not involved in the struggle to overwhelm Deng, he said he witnessed the moment firsthand.

“I heard a girl yelling continuously and I turned around,” Wu said. “A white guy just ran to the assailant immediately and the assailant was tackled down to the ground. The white guy restrained the assailant and kept him on the ground, yelling that ‘What the fuck are you doing? You just stabbed a girl!’ The other witnesses held the assailant’s feet and helped keep him on the floor.” 

According to the police affidavit, You had four visible puncture wounds on the left side of her nose and abrasions near her left eye, as well as a possible
nose fracture.

Hongjiang Li, an electrical and computer engineering graduate student who knows the victim personally, said she is getting better.

“All I can say about the victim is that she’s recovering,” Li said. “She doesn’t want this to be a public topic anymore.”

According to Bonnet, Deng followed the victim from China in order to re-kindle a romantic relationship. The police affidavit said Deng was auditing classes that would put him in close contact with the victim.

Non-UT students are virtually unrestricted in registering to audit classes and only require an instructor’s signature and $20.

Deng will be in court on Oct. 9. He is charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, under the category of dating violence, which is a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Deng’s attorney, Peter Bloodworth, declined to comment on the case.

Photo of Chenxi Deng courtesy of APD

The alleged assailant in Wednesday’s fork stabbing in the Engineering Science Building followed the victim from China in order to re-kindle a romantic relationship, according to UTPD officers.

Chenxi Deng, a 22-year-old graduate of Peking University in Beijing, supposedly stabbed UT graduate student Li You in the nose with a metal fork on the third floor of the ENS building Wednesday evening at roughly 5:45 p.m. 

According to the police affidavit, You had four visible puncture wounds on the left side of her nose as well as abrasions near her left eye. During a press conference Thursday, UTPD Sergeant Charles Bonnet said she might have a broken nose.

You was initially treated by EMS in the engineering building, but was taken to St. David’s Medical Center for further treatment. She was discharged Thursday.

Deng was charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, under the category of dating violence, which is a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Though a judge at the Travis County Central Booking Facility set Deng’s bond at $50,000, Deng had not posted bail at press time.

Deng was also given an emergency protective order requiring that he stay at least 200 yards away from You at all times.

According to Bonnet, Deng and You were involved in a romantic relationship as undergraduates at Peking University, though You left China after graduation to pursue her master’s degree at UT.

After maintaining contact via social media, Deng decided to follow You to Austin, Bonnet said. In a statement given through a UT Mandarin Chinese translator, Deng said he began “auditing” classes he thought You might take in order to run into her.

“[Deng] had a good idea of what classes she was going to be taking because they had been undergrads together,” Bonnet said.

Hongjiang Li, an electrical and computer engineering graduate student who was roommates with You last year, said he saw Deng enter the class he and You were taking Wednesday night before the stabbing.

“Before the class began, I was sitting on [You’s] right side,” Li said. “The guy came in and sat to the left of the girl, and she immediately moved to the right of me.”

Li said he did not recognize Deng as a usual student.

“I didn’t think he was registered for the class,” Li said. “I’d never seen that guy before.”

Li said once You left the classroom, Deng immediately followed her. Li stayed behind to talk with other classmates, but left the room when he heard police in the hallway.

According to Bonnet, You and Deng were talking in the hallway before the interaction escalated to physical violence.

“[Deng] attempted to have a conversation, [You] attempted to not have that conversation, it escalated into an argument and then into a physical confrontation,” Bonnet said.

After the alleged stabbing, four students nearby took hold of Deng and held him to the ground until UTPD and APD officers arrived.

Electrical engineering junior Priscilla Chang said she witnessed Deng being restrained when she went to use the third-floor elevator.

“I saw the guy being pinned down by a few other guys, and he was going nuts,” Chang told The Daily Texan on Wednesday. “He was yelling some crazy stuff, but I couldn’t really tell what it was — he seemed incoherent. He was fighting the guys trying to hold him down.”

You could not be reached for comment.

Following the Monday arrest of undeclared junior Garret Phillips for his alleged involvement in a minor breach of UT’s online security system last spring, some have raised safety concerns about the possibility of similar attacks causing more damage in the future.

An arrest warrant for Phillips was issued Friday in relation to the attack. Phillips was charged with breach of computer safety, a state jail felony with a penalty of up to two years, in prison Monday for his alleged involvement. Roger Wade, spokesperson for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, said Phillips turned himself into police Monday afternoon and was arrested around 2:00 p.m. Phillips was released on bond around 5 p.m. that day.

Charles Bonnet, University of Texas Police Department sergeant, said last April’s “denial of service” cyber attack, which overloaded UT’s registration website and shut it down for a four-hour period, is very common worldwide and hard to control, even with the advanced technology used by the University. Although the University has added back-up websites that students can be redirected to in the case of a crash, this still leaves University websites vulnerable to such a threat, Bonnet said. He said this presents major safety concerns as the attacks become more common, because a denial of service attack could be used to disable a vital University website.

“You can use your imagination,” Bonnet said. “But we live in a world where everything is run by computers, and websites are very common, so if someone takes down a certain website, that can affect a great number of people. In this case, it was a few thousand students, but I’m sure you can imagine that it could be a lot worse.”
 

Bonnet said a denial of service attack on websites that contain important safety information could lead to serious safety issues, especially if they were taken down during an emergency situation.

Bonnet said this is the first attack of its kind the University has seen, but denial of service attacks are happening more frequently worldwide.

“[Denial of service attacks] are relatively easy to do, but the word we want to get out is just because it is easy to do and you may think it’s funny, that doesn’t mean it is not going to come with serious consequences,” he said.

Phillips directed comments on the situation to his attorney, Sam Bassett, who declined to comment because he is still investigating the case and whether anyone else had access to Phillips’ laptop at the time of the attack. According to Friday’s affidavit, UT Information Technology Office was able to trace the attack back to Phillips’ laptop.

According to a press release issued by the University Tuesday, other than the back-up websites, multiple security measures are in place to prevent cyber attacks from happening, including firewalls, routine system management, disablement of unnecessary network services, monitoring of system performance and usage, use of physical security controls, routine backup of critical University services, a “robust University network infrastructure” and relevant Information Technology Services procedures.

Printed on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 as: UT cyber attack generates fears over future of online security

The process of “doctor shopping,” or when patients see multiple doctors to be re-prescribed medication without the previous doctor’s knowledge, will become more difficult for prescription drug abusers this summer.

After years with a hard copy request through the mail as the only way for doctors to learn if a patient has been prescribed the same drug by multiple doctors, the Texas Department of Public Safety plans to unveil an Internet database which will inform doctors of the patients’ prescription history before they leave the office, the DPS told The Daily Texan in an email.

There are currently prescription drug monitoring programs operating in 36 other states; an additional 11 states and Guam have also enacted legislation for their own programs.

DPS representatives said the database is an attempt to prevent patients from abusing and distributing drugs obtained from multiple prescriptions. DPS representatives said the database is one of many tools a practitioner can use to make a professional decision about prescribing a patient a drug.

“The goal is to provide a single database record of all prescription transactions within the state of Texas in order to take a proactive approach to prevention, assist with criminal investigations, provide historical reporting and identify trends,” DPS representatives said.

Because of privacy laws, only doctors, pharmacists and police will have access to the database, DPS representatives said, and doctors will not be required to look up a patient each time a drug is prescribed if there does not seem to be a risk of abuse.

UTPD Sgt. Charles Bonnet said prescription drug abuse is an issue for students.

“It does go on more than it should and probably more often than people think,” Bonnet said. “I’d say there is more prescription drug abuse than marijuana, cocaine and other substance abuse.”

Bonnet said he has noticed an increase in the abuse of prescription drugs in the past five years. Students are caught with drugs not prescribed to them more often than distributing them, he said.

“Some students don’t realize that just because it was prescribed by a doctor to your friend, doesn’t mean you can take it, too,” Bonnet said. “If you take Adderall just because you are studying for an exam, and it’s not prescribed to you, it is a crime.”

Undeclared sophomore James Compean said he has heard about Adderall, a drug prescribed to those with ADHD and narcolepsy, being sold during exam weeks.

“I’ve heard people talk about Adderall being sold for $5 a pill during the semester and during exam weeks they can be sold for $20 each because people want to stay up late studying,” Compean said.

UT senior research scientist Jane Maxwell said the prescription drug database is necessary not only to detect drug abusers but also for doctors to offer the best treatment for a patient.

“People who get a lot of different prescriptions for real and legal reasons, such as the elderly, may go to one doctor and get prescribed one medication, then go to different doctor and get prescribed another, and the two drugs might be harmful when taken together,” Maxwell said. “This database is needed badly to prevent that.”

Printed on Thursday, February 9, 2012 as: DPS to prescription to prevent drug abuse