Student Punches Through Window of Downtown Business ‘New York Pizzeria’

Editorial Disclaimer: While the Maroon-News confirmed the identity of the student suspect through eyewitness student accounts and video acquired from the scene, we have not included it in the story. Our omission is not intended to shield the suspect from the potential implications of their actions. Rather, we do not feel identifying the student by name serves a compelling purpose to the facts of the story or our mission as a student publication to inform the community and empower productive campus dialogue. 

A Colgate student is accused of smashing through the window of the front door of Hamilton business New York Pizzeria, commonly known as “Slices” shortly before 7 p.m. last Saturday, April 30 according to several student eyewitness accounts and the owner of New York Pizzeria, Everett Hance. 

A representative from the Madison County District Attorney’s Office confirmed the student in question was arrested on April 30 and charged with criminal mischief in the third degree. The student is set to be arraigned at the Hamilton Village Court house on Monday, May 9 at 5 p.m., which was confirmed by a representative from the Village Courthouse.

Colgate University Campus Safety confirmed that they were made aware of the incident by the Hamilton Police Department and are actively working to further investigate. The charge, criminal mischief in the third degree, is characterized by intentional damage to the property of another party without reasonable grounds, according to New York state penal code. 

“A criminal mischief charge occurred with damage to property windows at New York Pizzeria. The Hamilton Police Department responded, as they are the organization with jurisdiction. Conduct was referred to Colgate University,” a representative from Campus Safety told the Maroon-News, adding that this is standard procedure for incidents that occur in the Village of Hamilton regarding student behavior. “This is all consistent with University policy, as we do adjudicate off-campus behavior.” 

The Hamilton Police Department and Hamilton Police Chief Matt Janczuk did not respond to repeated requests for comment and declined repeated requests to provide details about the arrest or release the police report – typically a public document. An officer from the Hamilton PD told The Maroon-News to file a Freedom Of Information Law Request for basic arrest information – a process which can take weeks or longer. 

The student punched the window and walked away from the scene before a Slices employee escorted them back to the business where they waited until the Hamilton Police and SOMAC arrived, multiple eyewitnesses told The Maroon-News on the condition of anonymity. 

A student eyewitness, who was standing inside Slices waiting to order near the door at the time of the incident, described it to The Maroon-News.

“I see out of the corner of my eye, that [the] Slices worker is in a little bit of an argument — not a heated one — but, you know, disagreeing with whoever’s at the door and shuts the door … as a kind of way of saying ‘we’re not serving you, come back later,” they said. “And as [the employee] turns to walk away and as I’m turning towards the door to leave–it all happened so fast–I saw his fist cock back. And he just punched directly through the window and glass shattered everywhere.”

The anonymous eyewitness student began filming the incident. The Maroon-News acquired the video, taken at 6:52 p.m., which shows shattered glass covering the floor of the inside of the business’ entryway where the window smashed before panning to the student, whose hand appears to be bleeding, with the two Slices employees. 

“I walk out — I’m trying to carefully step over the glass. And I’m there right as the woman catches this kid … by the elbow and says ‘sit down, sit down, you’re going to take a seat right here [on the curb] … they start having a very heated discussion’” they said. “This kid was super drunk too. You could tell he was intoxicated. He was stumbling over himself. And he was so angry, I guess about the fact that he couldn’t get a slice of pizza that he just punched straight through the glass. And no one was expecting it. It was huge. It was loud. Everyone freaked out. Everyone went silent.”

Several student eyewitnesses and photos taken from the scene identify the student whose name we have chosen to omit. The student declined to comment on the allegations of the incident due the ongoing nature of the investigation.

According to Hance, who has owned and operated Slices since 1986, he believes the incident occurred after a large party, likely informally linked to Springfest or formerly known as Spring Party Weekend, sent students flooding into the Village. “The village was overwhelmed with people,” Hance noted. “We were overwhelmed fulfilling a standing Saturday order for a campus fraternity and were overwhelmed by the number of customers and began turning people away at the door. Following that, the kid got mad and punched through the door. We haven’t heard from him, his parents, a lawyer, nothing,” Hance told the Maroon-News on May 3. 

Another student, who also spoke to the Maroon-News on the condition of anonymity, said they witnessed much of the aftermath of the event from the window of their off-campus apartment downtown. They saw a large crowd of people swarm outside Slices and other local businesses on Lebanon street. 

“The street was super packed with kids, everyone was coming back from fraturday and the line into slices was out the door,” they said. “I didn’t see exactly when the window was smashed but I saw when one of the slices employees chase down someone, she grabbed him and asked for his ID and then ushered him back over to Slices and sat him down on the curb…it was then I saw that his hand was bleeding and they were trying to clean it up.” 

Colgate University Dean of Students Dorsey Spencer — who handles student affairs and disciplinary actions — declined to comment on what he called the “alleged incident,” as “the University doesn’t comment on individual disciplinary matters,” said Spencer via email response to the Maroon-News’ request for comment.

According to several eyewitnesses, photo and video evidence, as well confirmation of the student’s identity from the Madison County DA’s office, the student is also a member of a Colgate University Division 1 athletics team who was not in season at the time of the incident.

“While the University does not comment on specific conduct cases, it is important to note that all students are expected to conduct themselves as leaders and examples in our community,” said Director of Athletic Communications Jordan Doroshenko in a statement to The Maroon-News. “In general, any University disciplinary actions involving a student-athlete can be reviewed for possible additional athletics sanctions.” 

Hance noted that the window on the front door was replaced on Monday, May 2, so that the business could resume serving patrons. As of May 3, Slices had not yet received a bill for the window replacement and stated that whoever pays for its replacement would be determined by the court. Hance also noted that incidents of this nature have occurred at the pizzeria before, just typically not that early in the day, with most incidents of this nature occurring between the hours of 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. 

The owners of Flour & Salt bakery and cafe, who just opened their new location next door to the pizzeria, expressed disappointment following the incident. “It’s unfortunate to see happen, especially when it happens to a business that has taken good care of students for so long. In our 6 years in business, we have…really positive relationships with students, so we try to remember that when these incidents occur,” said the Flour & Salt spokesperson via Instagram direct message.