LSA sophomore Ashek Ahmed never suspected that his visit to a friend’s apartment would end in a four-night stay at University Hospital, a broken window, a four-and-a-half hour operation, a month-long vacation from classes and a possible shooting.
But somehow, that is exactly what happened after Ahmed walked into the Forum apartment complex located at 726 S. State St. on Nov. 22. Though he went to socialize with friends and relax after finishing his midterms, what happened that night was less than peaceful.
Ahmed said two inebriated men attending a party held in the building began fighting with another partygoer at approximately 2:30 a.m.
Ahmed said he and his friend, LSA freshman Neel Bhargava, tried to stop the argument but Ahmed was shoved into a window by one of the intoxicated men.
“There wasn’t any real fighting at first. It was just two people just talking belligerently and we just tried to stop it from getting any worse,” Bhargava said. “All I remember is we were just trying to break it up and somehow Ashek got pushed, and I saw him hit the window, and I heard the window shatter. It happened really quickly.”
Ahmed had assumed the broken glass caused his arm to start bleeding badly.
Ann Arbor Police Department officers, who had been called to the scene for a noise violation, called Huron Valley Ambulance to transport Ahmed to the hospital, where he said he stayed until Nov. 25.
Doctors found traces of a black powder in his wounds but no glass fragments, which Ahmed believes is a clear sign that somebody at the party had a gun and shot him – causing severe damage to his brachial artery and several nerves.
“I thought I just went through the glass, but the medical reports said they found black powder in my wound,” he said. “The bullet wound goes all the way through my arm. If you push through glass, you wouldn’t expect glass to go all the way through the arm.”
Ahmed admits he didn’t hear a gunshot or see any weapons that night, and initial police reports did not indicate any sign of gunpowder or bullet fragments at the scene.
“Even I didn’t hear a gunshot. If you’re going through a window, and with so many people in the building, the police said you may not hear a gunshot anyway. It could be muffled,” Ahmed said, adding that the powder findings surprised him. “I was kind of in denial, but after looking at the wound, it made much more sense than glass.”
AAPD Sgt. Angela Abrams said that, according to the initial police reports, Ahmed had simply sustained cuts on his arm from breaking the window.
Though Ahmed was bleeding heavily, nobody seemed to think it was a serious injury, Bhargava said.
“I didn’t even know it was that bad. He was bleeding, but I didn’t realize how much until after I got home and it was all over me,” Bhargava said. “He was calm and was just like, ‘Let’s go.’ I didn’t know what happened until I saw him in the hospital.”
AAPD Detective William Tucker said witnesses of the fight did not hear or see any weapons while at the party, although he confirmed that it is possible the party was too loud for shots to be heard.
Abrams said approximately 60 to 70 people were present at the party when the fight occurred.
“No one there heard any shot. The question is, how noisy was the party? I don’t know,” Tucker said, adding that police are still investigating the incident. “There was evidence of gunpowder in the wound, but we do not know that it is gunpowder because it was not tested.”
Like Ahmed, other gunshot victims – including Michigan cornerback Markus Curry – have stated they did not realize they had been shot.
Curry was wounded in May after attending a party with several of his teammates, including linebacker Carl Diggs. The two were walking home when a group of people, who had been present at the party and were involved in an earlier fight broken up by police officers, confronted them. One member of the group pulled out a gun and began shooting, hitting Curry in the back and Diggs in the leg.
Both have since recovered from their injuries.
Meanwhile, Ahmed, who chose to withdraw from classes for the rest of the semester after the incident, is still recuperating and asking what could have been done to avoid the incident.
He said he believes tighter security is needed around campus apartment buildings including the Forum in order to prevent more violence from occurring.
“They should have some formal security, or even just a person walking around. Just anything, really,” Ahmed said. “They should take some responsibility.”
But Prime Student Housing General Manager Jim Sotiroff, who works for the realtor that owns the Forum, said he believes this was an isolated incident and that additional security measures would not help the residents who live there.
“We have not hired security personnel for our (properties) and I don’t know of others who have hired security for theirs,” Sotiroff said. “I don’t know if there is a need.”
He added that if or when another incident occurs, action would be taken in order to ensure the safety of their tenants.
“We would have to look into what the causes of some of these events are. If we find out that there are just some bad tenants in the building, we would have to take the proper action to make sure all the other tenants are safe,” Sotiroff said. “We don’t think that there is problem, but we will keep our eyes and ears open.”