MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A University of Minnesota student claims a rubber bullet fired by police during the violence that followed the NCAA hockey championship on Saturday night cost him his spleen.
Jeff Arndt, 20, a junior, said he watched the Minnesota Gophers defeat New Hampshire 5-1 in the championship in Buffalo, N.Y., on television at his fraternity before going to watch the off-campus disturbance.
Arndt said he saw bonfires and cars being set on fire before deciding to go home. He said he saw police in riot gear across the street, trying to disperse the crowd.
"I remember I turned around and saw him shoot me," Arndt said of one officer. He said he was struck in the back and fell to the ground.
Police spokesman Ron Reier said he could not confirm that police used non-lethal bullets Saturday, although he said the ammunition carried by some officers was more accurately described as a foam bullet.
"I have heard that we used a variety of different things that night," he said, adding that police reports from that night were still coming in.
Arndt said he is unsure whether he was targeted by police or just got hit by a stray bullet. "My only guess is that I wasn't moving fast enough," he said.
Arndt made it back to his fraternity. "He practically collapsed on the floor and he had a huge welt on his back," said Katie Richardson, who was at the frat house when Arndt returned. "He was having a real hard time breathing, then he sat down and ended up laying down."
Two people drove Arndt to Fairview-University Medical Center where tests showed he had internal bleeding from a damaged spleen.
An ambulance took him to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he had emergency surgery to remove his spleen early Sunday morning, Arndt said.
Michele Lemoine, nursing supervisor at HCMC, said people can live without a spleen, which cleans the blood, but they will be more susceptible to infection.
Arndt said he has not ruled out a lawsuit. "I never broke anything or caused fights," he said, "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
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