SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Police are looking for a man wanted in the attack of a 21-year-old former student in the tailgating lot outside the University of Utah football game Saturday.
Former Utah student Ryan Stone was found lying on the ground and bleeding from his head at about 4 p.m. Saturday, said University of Utah police Sgt. Garth Smith.
He was taken to University Hospital in critical condition but has since been upgraded to stable.
Stone's family issued a statement Monday saying they were grateful for the outpouring of support they have received.
"Ryan is currently being treated at (University) Hospital for a skull fracture. His family is asking for privacy while they focus on Ryan's recovery," the statement says.
Witnesses say that during the fourth quarter of the game against Arizona State University, an argument broke out and the man was hit. Police suspect alcohol was involved.
Stone is talking to investigators and tells them his attacker was with three other men and one woman when the incident happened, Smith said. He said the men all had long hair and wore blue hats backward. The suspect had gauged ears, Smith said.
We've had fights in the past, verbal and physical, but nothing to this extent.
–Sgt. Garth Smith, UofU Police Dept.
Investigators don't know what was said before the altercation, or anything else about what led to the fight. The suspected attacker and his friends didn't appear to be supporting either team, wearing plain gray shirts, Smith said.
Arizona State won the game 20-19 after coming from behind to score 13 points in the fourth quarter.
In an effort to locate the suspect, police are hoping to talk with a woman with the group who stood out to witnesses and a man in his 50s who other witnesses say confronted the attacker and asked him why he did it, Smith said.
People with information are encouraged to call university police.
University of Utah spokeswoman Valoree Dowell says Stone is a former student, but he is not currently enrolled.
It is not uncommon for disagreements to occur during tailgating outside University of Utah football games, Smith said, but people don't usually get this seriously hurt.
"We've had fights in the past, verbal and physical, but nothing to this extent," Smith said.
Anyone who witnessed the assault is asked to call police at 801-585-2677.
Contributing: Pat Reavy
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