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Records give more details of fight on LSUE Campus that injured police officer

RPSO - Steven Melina.jpg
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 18:07:47-05

EUNICE, La.  — A student athlete at the Louisiana State University at Eunice is in jail Friday facing charges of battery of a police officer, disturbing the peace and resisting a police officer with force or violence.

Steven Melina was hospitalized in Alexandria after an incident at the Bengal Village Apartments on the LSUE campus over the weekend.

Records show that the Eunice Police Department were called out to the Bengal Village Apartments on Saturday morning on the LSUE campus before the incident that took place later that night when at least one officer was injured while attempting to break up a fight by a student athlete.

According to police reports obtained by KATC Investigates, officers were contacted on Saturday, Jan. 23 at approximately 11:01 a.m. by a men’s basketball coach at LSUE after he received complaints from students about the behavior of a fellow student residing at the Bengal Village.

The suspect, identified as Melina, an international student at LSUE, was showing strange behavior that may have been the result of a “medical episode.”

Melina was on the LSUE basketball team, but has since been removed from the university's website.

According to Eunice Today, Melina was an international student from France.

Officers state they found Melina walking to his apartment where he appeared to be “spaced out” and gave the officer a “blank stare.” When officers asked Melina if he was OK, he said that he had “smoked something” on the previous day, Friday, Jan. 22, and had not been feeling right ever since.

Melina said that he did not know what he had smoked before officers escorted him to paramedics standing by to provide medical care.

Officers then spoke with Melina’s girlfriend who said that she and Melina were involved in a heated argument on the previous Friday and that she had visited Melina earlier Saturday morning to speak with him since she was concerned about his well-being.

The report states that Melina’s girlfriend found him in his room and “looked really scared, asked who she was, and had no memory of the argument from the day before.”

She stated Melina's behavior then when from “laughing to crying, to asking her to play a game while he threw water all over the room.”

Melina’s girlfriend stated that he then “fell to the floor and started shaking, while talking to himself and his hands.”

She says that’s when Melina suddenly hit her on the leg and scratched her, while stating that “there was a demon inside her that they needed to get out.”

She said Melina then began to “scream prayers in her ears and shake her.” After he stopped shaking her, she said Melina started “talking to the wall when he suddenly stopped and made no facial expressions for several minutes.”

She said Melina started to bang on the walls, which caught the attention of his roommates who then attempted to intervene.

When Melina exited his bedroom, his girlfriend says she attempted to grab him and bring him back to his bedroom, but by doing so, she felt she had “scared him, which caused a defensive reaction from Melina that resulted in him hitting her.”

Officers state that they observed a minor scratch on her left thigh along with a minor scratch on her neck area.

Both the coach and girlfriend expressed to officers how Melina is a good person and it was uncharacteristic of him to behave in such a manor. Melina’s girlfriend told police that she wanted no further action taken against Melina, but agreed to cooperate with police.

Officers say that the paramedics treating Melina said that he displayed no medical concerns, physical or psychological, that would require them to transport him to the hospital.

The coach then escorted Melina to the Eunice Police Station where police told him of the incident where he hit his girlfriend. Police say that Melina then observed “an immediate change in facial expression from Melina, as his eyes teared up.”

Police say that Melina told them that he didn’t remember anything and didn’t mean to hurt her.

Police say they believe Melina was under the influence of an “unknown substance: that caused him to “unknowingly cause minor injury” to his girlfriend.

Police say they also believe that Melina had “no malice intent to commit the violation of battery,” so they did not file charges in reference to that incident.

According to another police report obtained by KATC Investigates dated Sunday, Jan. 24 at approximately 12:51 a.m., EPD was called to respond to another disturbance at the Bengal Village Apartments.

The arriving officer discovered three subjects run out of the apartment while two remained inside still fighting, one of which was completely naked.

When the officer attempted to pull one of the subjects out of the apartment, Melina began charging at the officer and punched his eyeglasses off of his face. The officer then tried to make space between himself and Melina while he attempted to use his radio to call for back up.

Melina then punched the officer again on the right side of his head on the temple. The officer states that he attempted to call for assistance again as he went to the ground. The officer says he then stood up and attempted to perform an armbar takedown on Melina, which is when he punched the officer in the right temple two additional times.

The officer states that he could no longer see at that point due to blurred vision. He attempted to locate Melina’s position, but was unable to see clearly because he had blood in his eyes and could not locate his eyeglasses. When the officer found his glasses, he attempted to locate Malins in the parking lot and found him around the nearby building.

The officer states that he then drew his Taser and aimed it at Melina, which is when he gave him a verbal command to stop and get on the ground.

Melina did not comply and advised the officer that he needed to shoot him.

Four other officers then arrived and took over as the responding officer sought medical treatment for his injuries.

EPD says Melina was then transported to a hospital in Alexandria for treatment and was taken into custody Friday morning before being transported to the Acadia Parish Jail.

LSUE students on campus tell KATC that this wasn't the first incident with Melina.

KATC Investigates has a pending public records request out to LSU for Melina.

According to LSUE, Melina will not be allowed to return to campus.

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