A student at the University of Wisconsin, Stout, was fatally assaulted around bar closing time in downtown Menomonie and has died, the school’s chancellor said.
Hussain Saeed Alnahdi, 24, a junior from Saudi Arabia studying business at the school in western Wisconsin, died Monday afternoon at a hospital in nearby Eau Claire, said Chancellor Bob Meyer.
No arrests have been announced in the homicide as police continue to piece together what happened about 2 a.m. Sunday on the 400 block of Main Street E., outside Topper’s Pizza.
Police have yet to determine what prompted the attack, which occurred as many people were decked out in Halloween costumes and visiting various bars and other nightspots in that part of town.
When asked if the assault could have been a hate crime directed at someone from the Middle East, Police Cmdr. Todd Swartz said, “That cannot be confirmed at this time. The motivation of the offender is unknown right now.”
Chiranjeevi Kadam, vice president of UW-Stout’s International Relations Club and a senator in the Stout Student Association, said Monday in a Facebook posting that the association “is following this closely. ... [We] want to make sure we know the facts before taking action.”
A man fled the scene on foot to the west, witnesses told police, leaving an unconscious Alnahdi bleeding from his mouth and nose.
“We’re in the process of trying to determine who that is,” said Swartz, who could only offer a vague description of that person.
In a statement sent Monday to everyone affiliated with the campus, Chancellor Meyer said, “I want to make a personal appeal to anyone on campus or in the community who might have information that would help authorities locate the individual involved in the attack to come forward.”
Alnahdi, who grew up in the north-central Saudi city of Buraydah, enrolled at UW-Stout in 2015.
Anyone with information is asked to call Menomonie police investigator Kelly Pollock at 1-715-231-8511. Anonymous information can be submitted at 855-847-3866 and at http://dunncocrimestoppers.com.
Enrollment in the fall of 2015 at UW-Stout totaled 9,535, with 4 percent of those being from outside the United States.
As of last year, nearly 60,000 Saudi students were studying in the United States, including hundreds in the Twin Cities, under a scholarship program created by the Saudi government, according to a 2015 report by the Institute of International Education. Collectively, they make up the fourth largest group of foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities, after China, India and South Korea, the report found.