SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — A Texas State University senior was hospitalized with severe injuries after he said he was “tackled and assaulted” by several members of a fraternity. He has filed a lawsuit against Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity – Eta Rho, its national chapter and three members of the group.
The Pi Kappa Phi national chapter said it would not comment on this pending litigation.
Witnesses filmed the moment of the fight on Oct. 27. The video shows a violent attack where 22-year-old Nikolas Panagiotopoulos received head injuries.
The video shows a fight break out between him and a group of people he claims are Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members. According to his attorney, Panagiotopoulos was walking with a friend who was wearing the hat of a rival fraternity, which sparked a confrontation. According to the lawsuit, they “began to taunt, verbally harrass and/or act aggressively towards [Panagiotopoulos] based, in part, on a mistaken belief that [Panagiotopoulos] was the member of a different social club.”
Panagiotopoulos’ attorney said you can see him try to run away, before being swarmed and attacked.
“This is a very violent attack, and this attack was relentless,” said Sean McConnell, the attorney representing Panagiotopoulos.
McConnell said the 22-year-old suffered traumatic brain and spine injuries and must use a wheelchair, for now. He said the medical expenses total more than $1 million.
Texas State University officials said they immediately suspended the fraternity after learning about the lawsuit, which claims in part, “Prior to the assault, Defendant Eta Rho had a history of encouraging rivalries with members of other fraternities and social clubs.”
Police records show two of the three fraternity members named in the lawsuit were arrested and booked into jail. They have since bonded out. A third man is pending arrest, McConnell said.
Kevin Anthony Jimenez Ayala, 22, was arrested by San Marcos Police on a host response charge Nov. 1 and again by Texas State University police on an aggravated assault charge, according to Hays County Jail records. Jail records show 23-year-old Josue Jimenez was arrested Nov. 26 and taken to Travis County Jail.
Panagiotopoulos hopes this attack changes Greek life at Texas State.
“We have a long way to go with the way these fraternities encourage the consumption of alcohol, hazing, violence, aggression towards others and rivalries. We believe that this is the type of message we want to send here,” McConnell said.
The lawsuit says the damages suffered are more than $1 million. It requests a jury decide how much Panagiotopoulos should be compensated “for the harm he has suffered as a result of the Defendants’ wrongful conduct.”