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Three UCLA students arrested in connection with stabbings during brawl [Updated]

October 2, 2009 | 10:25 am

Three UCLA students are among seven people who have been arrested in connection with a fight at an off-campus fraternity party that left three students injured last month, university officials said today.

Isaiah Hee Cho, 19, of Westminster; and Chris Yi, 19, of Huntington Beach, were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on Thursday, said Phil Hampton, a spokesman for the university. Justin Kim, 19, of La Crescenta, was arrested the same day on suspicion of being an accessory.

They were arrested by UCLA campus police but have been transferred into the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, according to the university.

The fight broke out in the early morning of Sept. 22 at an apartment complex in the 600 block of Midvale Avenue. The complex serves as the residence for some members of the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity, Hampton said.

One student was stabbed in the abdomen and required surgery, he said. A second student was stabbed in the arm, but did not require hospitalization. A third student was hit over the head with a bottle.

Four non-students were arrested later that day. They were identified as Federico Fernandez, 22, of Huntington Beach; Phi Quoc Le, 20, of Huntington Beach; Dan Su Pham, 19, of Covina; and Don Thammavongsa, 19, of Westminster. Each is being held on $2 million bail, Hampton said.

The Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity was on suspension at the time for a previous incident involving fighting, but the arrested students are not listed as members of the fraternity, Hampton said.

Cho is a third-year student majoring in pre-microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics; Yi is a second-year student majoring in biology; and Kim is a second-year student majoring in pre-business economics.

Hampton said that for privacy reasons the university could not reveal what, if any, action would be taken against specific students involved in the incident. But the university “takes a strong stand against behavior and actions that are detrimental to the institution,” Hampton said.

“There are a range of options available to the university,” he said, “and they are being looked at right now.”
University officials were keen to allay any fears about violent crime on or near the campus.

“We think we have a very safe campus considering that the institution is located in a very dense, urban environment. Incidents such as these are very rare,” Hampton said.

[Updated at 1:00 p.m.: Jeff Young, assistant chief of the UCLA police department, said the party at which the incident occurred was hosted by the Lambda Phi Epsilon Fraternity at the off-campus residence of some of the fraternity’s members.

A flier posted on Lambda Phi Epsilon’s website invited guests to a “housewarming mixer” on Sept. 21 at the address where the stabbing occurred the next morning.

“Let us show you how Lambdas throw the sickest house parties in town and experience the social life that you can’t experience any where [sic] else!” the flier said. “It will be a perfect chance for you to meet people from all over Southern California. This will be a night that you will never forget!”

Young said a preliminary investigation indicates that all the suspects, including the students who were arrested, were “uninvited guests.” He said the party eventually became overcrowded and, after some disruptions, the suspects were asked to leave.

“A significant fight broke out and in the process two people were stabbed,” Young said.

He said that witness accounts had led to the arrest of the four non-students on the day of the incident.

-- Ann M. Simmons

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