Two Washington, Pennsylvania community organizers who worked with a local ‘Stop the Violence’ group were arrested after they beat a former roommate, police say. Fox News reported that the altercation happened over a property dispute between the three.
Police arrested Nikole Ardeno and Emanuel Velez, both 30, when the pair allegedly attacked their former roommate on the street. The victim was continually beaten and kicked even after he was unconscious, according to the police. He suffered seizures and vomited blood.
The victim was identified as Joshua Magraff, who is also member of the activist group with Ardeno and Velez. Magraff reportedly remains unconscious and in critical condition in a Pittsburgh hospital. A spokeswoman for the hospital could not provide further information about the victims’ status.
Police said that leading up to the attack, Magraff returned to the apartment the three used to share to collect his things. Ardeno and Velez made a report with police claiming Magraff was a burglar. It was later determined Magraff was only taking items that belonged to him.
According to police chief Chris Luppino, Ardeno was wearing her “Stop the Violence” T-shirt from a march she was a co-coordinator of. The march took place the night prior to the attack during a city protest against two local shootings.
Ardeo and Velez are described as active members of the non-violence campaign group. A leader with Stop the Violence, Suzanne Kelley, said she hopes to hear Ardeno’s version of the incident, but that the group doesn’t condone violence, Associated Press reported.
“We do not promote violence at all, and I can’t believe this is going on. I don’t want the community to get a negative effect from this because they back us,” Kelley said.