BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The Glynn County Police Department (GCPD) said the investigation into an incident at a house party on St. Simons Island last week that left a young man in the hospital is continuing but it’s unclear now if anyone will face charges.
“If a picture could say 1,000 words, then the 1,000 words that that picture would say was, that’s a horrible incident that occurred, what that victim went through. We can’t rush to judgment. We have to take our time on this and that’s what we’re doing,” GCPD Interim Chief O’Neal Jackson said during a Wednesday news conference.
The teen victim was in an intensive care unit following the incident that happened on March 21 but has since been released, his family said.
News4JAX has been reporting the incident to be an apparent “hazing” incident but Jackson said what happened doesn’t qualify under Georgia law because it doesn’t involve a public school event or an organization that’s related to a school.
“Our victim was an adult, as you as you’re aware, the individuals that are involved in this, the other individuals that are involved in this thing are juveniles. So it would not rise to that definition,” Jackson said.
MORE: Father of alleged Georgia hazing victim told investigators his son was just trying to fit in
According to GCPD, the incident started at a house party on St. Simons Island on Tuesday night. At some point, that night, Trenton Lehrkamp, 19, was brought to a hospital emergency room by three other teens who left before police arrived. A report said Lehrkamp’s clothes were soaked with urine, he had spray paint all over him and a small bruise on his shoulder.
Jackson said police have investigated two separate incidents involving Lehrkamp. In one incident he was seen in a photo slumped in a chair and another involved a video that showed him being sprayed with a water hose and identified all of the people involved. All 11 of them are under 18 years old and attend Glynn Academy, Jackson said.
“As of today, investigators with the Glynn County Police Department and Georgia Bureau of Investigations continue to look into social media posts that have been supplied to the office. While we do appreciate the information provided by this source, there has been some misinformation that has spread via this medium as well, some of which includes the misidentification of individuals that were not involved in this incident, which has affected many families here in our local community,” Jackson said.
Jackson said it’s possible the homeowners where the party happened could face charges as well as anyone who may have been involved in providing alcohol or drugs to the teens. Jackson said it was unclear if a parent was home at the time of the incidents.
According to Lehrkamp’s father, it was not the first time that the teen had gone to a house party on the island and been hurt.
A report details how on March 17 Lehrkamp came home covered in WD-40, vomit, paint, glue, egg and spray paint.
In the report, the father said the reason why his son continued to go to the house parties was that he thinks he is accepted by those people and thinks they care for him. He added that his son hung out with the teens who were younger than him because he wanted to fit in.
Jackson read a statement provided by the Lehrkamp family on Wednesday afternoon.
“Trent is transitioning. He’s beginning the next step of his care and we ask that you continue to pray for Trent. The family would like to state that they’re in full cooperation with this investigation and the efforts of all the law enforcement officers. They want justice for Trent, and hopefully, we’ll be able to prevent this from happening to anyone else in the future,” Jackson said.
Jackson said society should have no tolerance for bullying and the mistreatment of others, adding there were a lot of young people aware of both incidents and no one reported it.
“So I would ask that folks not be afraid to speak up. This incident may not have even been reported if the victim didn’t end up in the hospital, which is really sad,” he said.
Right now, there are no criminal charges on the table but community members hope that changes.
“Everybody knows what’s right and everybody knows what’s wrong. I feel like things are going to keep sliding if we don’t do anything about it,” said Brunswick resident Ajoria Riggs.
Hundreds of people rallied Monday outside a hospital in Glynn County to show support for Lehrkamp.