APD seeks witnesses for brutal assault on CPH student

Arcata Police Department has identified five suspects related to a Oct. 22 brutal assault of a Cal Poly Humboldt student, according to Chief of Police Brian Ahearn in an email on Dec. 6. APD is currently seeking witnesses. Cal Poly Humboldt student Caden Cuevas and friend Nathan Cruz were assaulted on the corner of 10th and G street across from US Bank. 

CPH student Caden Cuevas wearing neck brace and has visible scars on head
Cal Poly Humboldt student Caden Cuevas almost a month since the assault outside the Arcata Theater Lounge on Oct. 22. Photograph taken on Nov. 19 by Ricardo Lara Nava.

Cuevas encountered his assailants at the Arcata Theater Lounge where he asked them to refrain from saying the n-word. After the group began to call him the n-word and other names, he decided to walk away and carry on with his night. Hours later his attackers confronted Cuevas and Cruz, which led to the assault.

“Five people beat up a small, skinny, clearly disabled person over telling them to not say the n-word. That’s scary,” Cuevas said in an interview on Nov. 19.

Cuevas suffered a subdural hematoma, a broken left orbital socket and a fractured neck. He underwent a six hour emergency surgery to drain 95% of the blood in his skull to release the pressure, and was in a medically induced coma for a day and a half. When police spoke to Cuevas, they informed him that the initial scene was flagged as a murder due to Cuevas lying unconscious in a pool of blood.

APD is asking for witnesses to come forward. Cuevas and Cruz described the assailants as being people of color. Cruz said that during and after the assault, people were standing around watching and not doing anything except for two individuals who tried to get the assaulters off of them. 

“I told one of them to go get my friend who works at the ATL and come over where we were but nobody did. So I called 9-1-1,” Cruz said. 

A week after Cuevas was released from the hospital, he notified his professors and advisors about what had happened. 

“They all sent in the CARES act, Dean of Students, Title IX, administrators. Everybody,” Cuevas said. “UPD got in contact with APD and they told me what they know.” 

Cuevas said that nobody from campus or the community knew that this had happened to him, and was surprised that nothing was sent out from the university or the ATL about the incident. “Nobody knew how bad it was,” he said. “I almost died.” 

Due to the emergency surgery, Cuevas has to take seizure medication regularly to alleviate his head pain. He is currently trying to get caught up on assignments by doing two of them a day. Cuevas said he is not afraid of leaving his home but he is afraid of going to campus because of the chance that he might run into the assailants.

El Leñador reached out the CPH News and Information for a comment or statement to the assault. Grant Scott-Goforth, public information officer, said by email on Dec. 5, “UPD has confirmed that this is an Arcata Police Department investigation, details about it will have to come from that office.The university can’t share information about active Title IX investigations.”

If you were a witness to what occurred in the early morning of Oct. 22 contact the Arcata Police Department at (707) 822-2428.

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