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Penn police arrest Brasno '98 after firecracker explosion at Palestra

Jason Brasno '98 was charged with four felonies and two misdemeanors Tuesday for allegedly throwing a firecracker into a crowd of basketball fans at the Palestra.

According to a detective in the 18th precinct of Philadelphia, as of 1 a.m. today Brasno was being held in the precinct's jail pending arraignment.

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Brasno is charged with felonies in the first degree for causing or risking a catastrophe, aggrevated assault, simple assault and arson. He was also charged with recklessly endangering another person, a second degree misdemeanor, and possession of an instrument of crime, a first degree misdemeanor, according to police at the 18th precinct.

The detective said Brasno will face an arraignment before a judge and bail will be set at that time.

Sequence of events

According to fans present at the game, the firecracker came from section 213, in a corner of the gym opposite the Princeton bench. There is no word yet on what, if any, disciplinary action the University will take against Bras-no. Marianne Waterbury, assistant dean of student life, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Early into the second half, a blue firecracker blew up midair in an upper corner of the gymnasium, stunning fans and players alike.

The sound of the explosion resounded through the Palestra, and fallout from the device hit some members of the crowd. No one was hurt but fans were shocked by the noise.

"My first instinct was to duck," said Daniel Caramanico, a University of Pennsylvania spectator who sat in the section just below the explosion. "It exploded in the air and showered down sparks and pieces of ash. Some landed in my section."

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Some students who attended the game were disheartened by the news that a University student was allegedly responsible for the firework.

"I assumed it was a Penn fan," said Eliot Kent-Uritam '98. "I was disappointed to find out it was a Princeton fan."

In the aftermath of the explosion, security was increased for the remainder of the game. Guards formed a perimeter around the edge of the court during each time out to watch the stands for any other disturbances.

Brasno stepped down last month as president of Tiger Inn.

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(Senior writer Griff Witte contributed to this article.)

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