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Charges filed in cannon incident

Fraternity president pleads not guilty
Friday, May 7, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:41 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

Misdemeanor charges were filed Tuesday against two members of the Kappa Alpha fraternity concerning the explosion of its cannon last week. Charges against a third suspect are still being investigated.

Fraternity President Seth Fagan and Daniel Dunn, another member of Kappa Alpha, have both been charged with reckless exploding and third-degree assault.

Charges for property damage and unlawful use of a weapon were not listed in court documents, despite their presence in earlier records. Assistant prosecuting attorney Steven Berry said he felt assault and reckless exploding were the most appropriate charges after reviewing police reports.

Fagan pleaded not guilty to charges on Tuesday and is waiting for a trial date to be set. Dunn will be arraigned May 12.

Kappa Alpha Vice President Nicholas Adkins, who was arrested with Fagan last Thursday, has not been charged. Berry said he still needed to review evidence against Adkins before proceeding.

Kappa Alpha also is conducting a private investigation of the incident. Stewart Harvey, spokesman for the national Kappa Alpha office, said it is too early to tell whether the University of Missouri chapter of Kappa Alpha will face any sanctions.

“First we want to make sure we understand all the facts and know who all the responsible parties are,” Harvey said.

Harvey said Kappa Alpha was glad no one had been hurt in the incident. “We hope we can learn from this experience,” Harvey said.

Calls to the Kappa Alpha house and fraternity members on Thursday were not answered.

According to court documents, police responded to reports of an explosion at the Kappa Alpha house around 8 p.m. on April 30. Witnesses said, following the explosion, a cloud of smoke was visible and there was a cheering crowd in front of the fraternity house.

Fagan and Adkins were arrested on the scene after Fagan admitted to firing the cannon as part of an annual tradition, police said. Harvey said the national Kappa Alpha Organization had also heard that report but had no previous knowledge of any such tradition.

The National Kappa Alpha office forbids the possession or firing of firearms at chapter houses, Harvey said. Chapters may opt to have a cannon, “as long as it is properly plugged and inoperable,” he said.

Police found a piece of metal in a fourth floor common room at University Place, located across College Avenue from the Kappa Alpha house. The metal, which crashed through the roof and fifth floor of University Place, is believed to have come from the exploded cannon.

Dunn was later arrested at the Columbia Police Department. Both Dunn and Adkins helped load the cannon, police said.


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