University News

Assaulted student continues recovery

After sustaining injuries in May’s incident, Sharkey ’15 is completing cognitive and physical therapy

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Brown student who was assaulted on Thayer Street in May has returned home and is recuperating after having spent nearly two months in the hospital with severe head injuries.

Joseph Sharkey ’15 had been placed on life support at Rhode Island Hospital following the May 12 assault, which left him in critical condition. He was released from the hospital June 3, according to a blog called Joe’s Time his family uses to share updates on his condition. Sharkey is now living at his family’s home in Norwood, Mass. as he completes cognitive and physical therapy.

“We are extremely thankful that his recovery is progressing very well,” wrote mother Denise Sharkey P’15  in an email to The Herald.

Sharkey was assaulted around 2 a.m. May 12 during an altercation near the intersection of George and Thayer streets, where he was punched by Connecticut resident Tory Lussier, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist, The Herald reported at the time. The blow caused Sharkey to fall back and hit his head on the pavement, knocking him unconscious. He had still not regained consciousness when a Department of Public Safety officer arrived around 2:25 a.m.

Authorities were initially uncertain whether Sharkey would survive his injuries or sustain permanent, serious brain damage if he did, multiple news outlets reported. Sharkey underwent two major surgeries before being transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for recovery and intensive therapy, according to the family blog. He was released from Spaulding July 9 and returned home.

The day he returned home, Sharkey posted on the blog to let well-wishers know about his release from the hospital. “I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your thoughts and prayers throughout this process because this would have been so much more difficult without all of you by my side,” he wrote.

Sharkey, a member of the men’s basketball team, visited campus in early August to see some of his teammates at a basketball camp, the Providence Journal reported. Coaches and teammates from Sharkey’s current and former basketball teams frequently visited Sharkey during his time in the hospitals, according to the family’s blog.

Sharkey has expressed interest in taking at least one course at the University this semester, his family wrote on the blog July 8.

The legal fallout from the assault continues to unfold. Lussier currently faces a felony assault charge in Providence District Court, where he is next expected to appear Oct. 4, the Providence Journal reported.

The altercation started after a group of Brown students including Sharkey and Dillon Ingham ’14 passed another group that included Lussier walking on Thayer.

“It’s our understanding from talking to witnesses that the initial altercation was started by Ingham,” Providence Police Detective Commander Michael Correia told The Herald in June.

Ingham allegedly sparked the conflict by commenting on the tattoo of a man in the other group, The Herald reported in June. The verbal confrontation soon grew physical, with Ingham injuring two individuals — Joseph Lyan, whose cheekbone was fractured, and Joseph Parrish. As the altercation appeared to be winding down, Lussier allegedly punched Sharkey, whom police believed not to be “an active participant” in the prior fight, Correia said.

Connecticut police arrested Lussier May 15, and Providence Police charged Ingham with felony assault May 28, multiple news outlets reported. Ingham is expected to make his next court appearance Oct. 9.

Lussier’s lawyer, John Lombardi, has said his client was acting in self-defense, though eyewitnesses said the assault on Sharkey was unprovoked, the Providence Journal reported Aug. 27. Both Lussier and Ingham are currently free on bail.

— With additional reporting by Mathias Heller



  1. Where is the outrage that Brown does not do more to stem the tide of violence on its campus? Perhaps times are too good for admissions for anyone to care.

  2. Ashley D'Arpino says:

    The victim is Joseph Ryan, a purple heart recipient and wounded veteran, not “Joseph Lyon”.

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