By Jessica Charman |
Students living in Laker Village woke in the early hours of Wednesday morning by the sound of gunshots. Chief of Police, Bobby Hamil, confirmed the rumors in a 1:56 a.m. campus-wide emergency text stating, “Shots fired near 900 building of Laker Village. Suspect fled in Black Mustang.” Since the event, minimal information has been released. However, Hamil did send out a campus-wide email later on Wednesday which reported that the suspect “fired 2-3 rounds in the air” and also that “no female victim has reported the incident or been identified.” It appears that, with no victim coming forward, this crime may be one without a solution.
No one expects to hear gunshots on campus, but this is a topic that has found itself reported on in The Bent Tree on prior occasions. Students have voiced their fears about on-campus housing’s safety in the past, and those in power have promised solutions. But how are we expected to trust these solutions when crimes have continued within Clayton State boundaries?
Many upperclassmen will remember the campus-wide shock that followed the murder of Tyrone Davis back in November 2015. While Davis was not a CSU student, he was visiting the then Clayton Station apartments when he was shot and killed at 8 p.m. The student body was left unnerved, overwhelmed by safety concerns.
At the time, The Bent Tree covered a Q&A with campus police that aimed to reassure student worries. There were promises of increased lighting, guaranteed police presence, and new CCTV. For a short period, students may recall the varying exits to the complex being blocked to ensure there was only one entrance and exit late at night. Sadly, these precautions were either unnoticed or short-lived. One junior, who wished to remain anonymous, felt that they lied to her. She reported that “we were promised that the police were making changes to ensure our safety. It seemed that these changes weren’t taken seriously as they were either inconsistent or nonexistent.”
Wednesday’s incident has led to many students echoing these safety concerns. The student that claims they called the campus police to report the incident cited numerous concerns about their response. She recalled how, “the campus police say they patrol around at night, but it took them about 5-10 minutes to show up, and they didn’t have any car patrol lights on. It seemed like they were just taking their time to get there.”
The same individual also questioned the effectiveness of the emergency text that was sent out. Apparently, this message, received by students at 1:56 a.m. was over two hours after the gunshots. She voiced her concerns that “because students weren’t notified, they were driving and walking around right after everything happened.”
However, another student, a sophomore close to the incident in 800 building, seemed a little more hopeful. While she awoke frightened and shocked by the gunshots, she feels the campus police do make her feel safe. She explained that “the police are always around which makes me
feel safe. I think the campus police are doing a good job, but since almost anyone can own a gun, it may not be as secure as it could be. This not the polices’ fault.”
Chief of Police, Bobby Hamil confirmed the event stating that, “Clayton State University police officers, along with officers from both Morrow and Lake City Police, responded promptly a little after midnight on Wednesday, 1/24/2018 to a call advising that gunshots had been heard at Laker Village building 900 area followed by a carjacking.”
When asked about improved safety features, Hamil reported that “an additional security measure for Laker Village that has recently been funded will be the installation of gates at all vehicle entrances in the next 2-3 months. That will allow vehicle traffic to be more closely monitored.” A meeting with students about these gates will take place in the Laker Hall Multi-Purpose Room tonight (01/29/18)
He also informed The Bent Tree that while the victim has not come forward, investigations are ongoing. He urged anyone with information on the event or parties involves to contact public safety at 678-466-4050.
It is clear that this shooting has left many students unnerved and questioning their safety on campus. Laker Village may have a new name, but right now, it seems to be suffering from similar safety issues to the previously titled Clayton Station. We can only hope that this time, campus police and the Laker Village community can come together to ensure it is a safe and secure place for students to live worry-free.