UT bleach bombings lead to march against racism


by SHELTON GREEN and Photojournalist DATHAN HULL

KVUE News Austin

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM

AUSTIN –  Dozens of students, alumni, faculty and other supporters met at the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the University of Texas campus Tuesday evening to denounce racism. 

This came after a series of incidents involving what victims say were bleach-filled balloons, dropped from high rises in West Campus -- all toward people of color. 

“It's very frustrating to know that it's 2012 and that stuff like this still happens,” said UT student Jaysen Runnels.

Runnels said he has been victimized twice by bleach bombs on two separate occasions, both in West Campus. 

“A bleach bomb fell and hit me, my roommate. Well almost hit us. It barely missed us,” said Runnels. 

Austin police detectives said they have spoken to victims who were involved in four separate and similar incidents involving liquid-filled balloons dropped on people of color. 

Corporal Anthony Hipolito said detectives haven’t been able to determine if the balloons were filled with bleach nor do police know if the incidents were racially motivated. 

That didn’t stop dozens of people from marching from the MLK statue at UT to the West Campus areas where they chanted in unison “No Violence, No Silence.”

Hipolito also said that it was Austin detectives who had to seek out the victims because the incidents were not reported at first. 

APD is now working with the University of Texas Police Department to find who is responsible for the balloon incidents. 

In the meantime officers are asking any other victims or witnesses to come forward to assist in the investigation.