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Johnson City man turns himself in after freshman and her boyfriend were attacked after UT game

Lydia Ernst showed a black eye, saying the man seen in her mom's now-viral Facebook post attacked her and her boyfriend.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Update (10/14/21): A Johnson City man is scheduled to appear in court for assault after the University of Tennessee Police Department said he attacked a freshman and her boyfriend following Saturday's football game against South Carolina. 

UTPD said 57-year-old Mark Alexander Bowman from Johnson City turned himself in Thursday morning to the Knox County Sheriff's Office after an incident on Saturday, Oct. 9, when a female UT student said he shoved her boyfriend and hit her in the face after the game. 

Bowman is charged with two counts of assault and one count of pedestrian crossing at a location other than a crosswalk, according to UTPD.

UTPD worked with law enforcement in Washington County to serve the warrants. Bowman is scheduled to appear in court on October 26 at 10 a.m. for a bonded arraignment. 

Credit: KPD
Mark Bowman

The freshman said a fight that started with "banter" between her boyfriend and another group of UT fans, which left her with a black eye and bruises on her forehead and the back of her head. 

The freshman, Lydia Ernst, said she and her boyfriend were leaving shortly after Saturday's game ended. She said her boyfriend and his friend talked to three guys as they walked back to their dorms.

"I hear playful banter back and forth," Ernst said. 

According to the arrest report, Bowman had been exchanging "chants" and expletives from across the street with the victims at the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Volunteer Boulevard.

Then Ernst said the man approached her boyfriend and was "throwing his hands in the air, not saying anything." 

Ernst said she recorded as he walked up and shoved her boyfriend, which the arrest report said happened "without warning."

In a video posted to social media, the man is heard saying "do you [expletive] hear me? You [expletive] move, now. I will [expletive] kill you."

Editor's note: Expletives censored in video 

Ernst said she approached the man and told him it was not okay for him to shove her boyfriend, saying he then began punching her.

"He definitely saw that I was a woman, and just punches me multiple times," Ernst said. "My memory was such a blur from that moment. I remember perfectly right before it and right after." 

The arrest report said Ernst suffered facial injuries, including bruising, a black eye, and scrapes to the back of her head.

"I was hysterical," Ernst said. "I was crying, sobbing and the next thing I know I was in this woman's arms." 

Credit: Lydia Ernst

According to the arrest report, the a Knoxville police officer stopped the man at 17th Street and Cumberland Avenue shortly after the incident. The report said the officer ID'd the suspect, but released him due to "insufficient evidence" at the time of the stop.

The officer's body camera captured the suspect, which was later used to match him to the video and pictures taken during the incident. Police said the suspect was also captured on security footage assaulting the victims.