EAST LANSING (WWJ) – A Michigan State University student is recovering after he was beaten up and had his mouth stapled shut during what investigators are categorizing as a brutal hate crime.
Zachary Tennen, a 19-year-old sophomore in MSU’s journalism program, said he was at a house party on the 500 block of Spartan Avenue early Sunday morning when two men approached him and asked if he was Jewish. When he responded “Yes,” the two men raised their arms into a Nazi salute and said “Heil Hitler” before knocking him unconscious, according to Tennen’s mother, Tina.
About 20 people reportedly watched as the men proceeded to staple Zachary Tennen’s mouth shut at the lips and gums. His jaw was broken in two places during the attack.
“They knocked me down really hard … and I assumed someone would help me,” Zachary Tennen said in a statement. “But after some guys at the house basically kicked me out, I had to get a cab.”
Tina Tennen told the Detroit Free Press her son took a cab to Sparrow Hospital in East Lansing for initial treatment, but underwent surgery in metro Detroit Monday night to have his jaw wired shut. He is now recovering at his home in Franklin.
“It almost seemed like they tried to kill me, and to think about that in my brain, physically — it isn’t very pleasant,” Zachary Tennen told campus newspaper The State News.