TVCC basketball player critically injured in fight

Credit: Treasure Valley Community College

19-year-old Thomas Hooper


by Andrea Lutz

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBandrealutz


Posted on December 4, 2013 at 4:45 PM

ONTARIO, Ore. -- A 19-year-old is fighting for his life in a Boise hospital after a weekend altercation left him with critical injuries.

Nineteen-year-old Thomas Hooper came to Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) from Las Vegas, Nevada to play basketball, but over the weekend a fight broke out in the 500 block of NW 1st Street.

Ontario Police Chief Mark Alexander said early Sunday morning a large party was taking place, but then suddenly several fights broke out involving 50 people, according to witnesses.

“A large group of people that don’t know each other,” said Alexander. “So we are looking at the motive behind that (and) what prompted the fighting.”

Many were injured in the fight, but Hooper suffered the most severe injuries.

“He’s in critical shape,” said TVCC Director of Athletics Ed Aronson.

His teammates as well as the college are shaken by the incident, but the support for his recovery is there.

“He is a leader on and off the floor,” said Aronson. “We are shocked that this happened to Thomas and the rest of his friends, and we are shocked that it happened in our community.”

Police say 31-year-old April Brown, of Ontario, was taken into custody for allegedly hitting Hooper on the head with a metal bar. He was later struck by a glass bottle by someone else.

According to police, Hooper is now in a medically induced coma and his injuries are life threatening, so these next days are critical for his recovery.

“This is somewhat unusual especially to the magnitude of the injury,” said Alexander. “(it’s) Just very unfortunate that it happens to somebody like that.”

Aronson said Hooper’s family is in Ontario from Las Vegas, and his mother and grandparents spend each day with him in the hospital. He said everyone is hoping for a speedy recovery for the young basketball player.

“We can’t wait for him to get back in the classroom and get back in the gym,” said Aronson.

Those with the Ontario Police Department and TVCC won't say if Hooper was drinking at this party. Chief Alexander said that portion of the investigation is not over.

The police department is still looking for additional witnesses. If you know anything call the Ontario Police Department at 541-889-7266