Evictions coming in alcohol-pouring incident at Islamic Center of Tucson

Owner of off-campus high rise near ICT taking action against residents

UA housing evictions

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Residents living in an off-campus high rise may need to find a new place to live after an incident involving the Islamic Center of Tucson.

The owner of the apartments near the University of Arizona said the company is moving forward with the eviction process following an investigation late last month.

The Islamic Center of Tucson, on the corner of Tyndall Avenue and First Street, is surrounded by housing buildings just off the University of Arizona’s campus. Several balconies of the Luna building, part of the development Sol y Luna, overlook the ICT’s back parking lot and basketball court.

The ICT reported alcohol was poured and at least one aluminum beer can was thrown from a balcony while children played basketball below around 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24.

Members reported hearing comments being yelled during the incident as well.

Following the reported incident, a spokesperson for GMH University Housing, the owner of the Sol y Luna apartments, told KOLD News 13 the company was investigating with Tucson Police. A statement, on behalf of Justin Wybenga, VP of Operations at GMH Capital Partners, said the company has “a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to our residents endangering the safety of our fellow community members.”

[ Building management investigating alleged alcohol-pouring incident near UA ]

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, a spokesperson with the company provided this update on the investigation on behalf of Wybenga:

"We have worked closely with the Tucson Police Department throughout this investigation and together we have determined that there is sufficient evidence to move forward in filing eviction proceedings with the court. While we feel we have sufficient grounds for eviction, the decision is ultimately in the court’s hands. In the meantime, we have closed access to the balcony for residents at the identified unit.

As stated previously, we have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to our residents endangering the safety and comfort of our fellow community members. While some situations are outside of our control, we take these matters very seriously and strive to be good neighbors. Now that law enforcement has conducted its thorough investigation and we have their support in taking legal action, we are committed to resolving this issue as quickly as possible."

The incident in August was not the first time the ICT has dealt with issues.

A member shared photos of a broken window with KOLD News 13. He said a stick was thrown from a balcony last semester, which caused a member’s car window to shatter.

[ UA students throwing glass bottles at Islamic Center of Tucson again ]

In 2016, four UA students were evicted from their unit after they were caught throwing things -- glass bottles and aluminum cans.

“We’ve had incidents with vehicles being damaged or it getting a couple feet from a child. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when," said ICT board member Mahmoud Abagi in August.

According to the Tucson Police Department, no suspects have been named in the incident. A report was taken on the night of the incident, but no arrests were made.

“We have to live here. We have to live with other people, they have to live with us and we have to understand each other,” said Irfan Sheikh, a member of the Islamic Center of Tucson’s Board of Directors.

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