Zachary Tennen at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing - Photo from Detroit Free Press
(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - A 19-year-old Michigan State University student is recovering at home in Oakland County today after surgery overnight for a broken jaw his family says stems from a brutal hate crime.
Two men at a party early Sunday asked Zachary Tennen, a journalism sophomore at MSU, if he was Jewish, his mother, Tina Tennen, said today.
They raised their arms in a Nazi salute, chanting "Heil Hitler" and then knocked Tennen unconscious.
Tennen says while her son was out, the men stapled his mouth, putting a staple into his gum while about 20 people watched.
In a statement released late this afternoon, however, East Lansing police say it likely was not a hate crime but did not explain why. Investigators say they have located two witnesses and possibly a suspect.
Despite that, Zachary Tennen's mother is still upset. "It's an awful hate crime, and what he's gone through emotionally and physically, it's scary to put it into words," Tennen said at about 6:30 a.m. today, pausing from getting her son medicine as he recuperates at their home in Franklin. "Hopefully the worst is behind us. It's going to be hopefully not too rough."
Her son says no one at the party helped him as he was attacked then thrown out of the gathering. He took a cab to Sparrow Hospital in East Lansing for initial treatment, but underwent surgery in metro Detroit overnight to have his jaw wired shut, his mother said.
"I hope that they get prosecuted, go to jail," Tina Tennen said. "You hear about it in the news, but I guess it's something that you think never will happen to you."
She said Zachary hopes to return to take classes at MSU in about a week, surviving on a liquid diet.
"The school's been involved; we've been in touch with them," Tina Tennen said today. "They've outreached to us. But we're still trying to find them (the attackers). The job isn't done."
Detroit Free Press