- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 04 November 2016
- Written by DANIELLE SCHIPANI EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & JOHN SORCE | SPORTS EDITOR
Gunman on Campus Is Arrested In Dorms
Monmouth University was placed on a campus lockdown after two female students reported that a man allegedly attempted to rob them with a handgun on Nov. 1 at approximately 9:17 p.m. No one was injured and the suspect and weapon were apprehended.
Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office identified the suspect as University student Keith L. Williams, 18, of Baltimore, M.D., and charged him with first degree armed robbery.
The students reported that a male, approximately 6’3” wearing a hooded black sweatshirt and stocking mask, drew what was believed to be a handgun and demanded their cell phones. The students escaped the scene. They called 911 once they were in a safe location.
Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD) was immediately notified of the incident, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.
The University personnel put a lockdown in place at 9:52 p.m. for the entire campus to ensure the safety of the students and anyone else who was potentially in danger. This decision was based upon the fact that an armed suspect was believed to be on campus, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.
As of 10:52 p.m., the subject was apprehended. However, MUPD requested that students remain in lockdown while officers searched for additional evidence. The campus lockdown was lifted at 12:11 a.m.
Williams was apprehended in Elmwood Hall by Safety Officer Tom Duda, Police Officer Jim Gaul, and Police Officer Robert McDonald, according to Tara Peters, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communication.
The press release from the Prosecutor’s office explained that the police recovered the weapon, which was determined to be an imitation handgun. These guns resembled black, semiautomatic handguns. “Bail was set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English at $100,000, with no 10 percent option, no victim contact and an order not to return to the scene,” said the release.
Williams has been indefinitely suspended from the University football team according to Greg Viscomi, Associate Athletics Director for New Media and Communications. Williams was a freshman offensive lineman for the team.
“I am grateful for the efforts of our dedicated and experienced Police Department who ensure our high standards for the safety of our campus, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said President Paul Brown, Ph.D. in a statement sent to the campus community Wednesday morning.
“The University is reviewing this situation under the Student Code of Conduct and will take action as appropriate. Federal privacy laws prohibit us from sharing information about students’ disciplinary records,” said Peters. “The University continues to cooperate with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office on this joint investigation.”
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker, Director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
MUPD was assisted by officers from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, West Long Branch, and Ocean Township.
“Our dedicated and experienced Police Department ensure our high standards for the safety of our campus... We are grateful that the protocols we put in place helped to keep our students and staff safe and unharmed,” said Peters.
Chair of the Criminal Justice Department, Beth Sanders, Ph.D. said that MUPD handled the situation very well and thought that text alerts were an efficient way to contact the students on campus. “People want information and updates and I think the emergency hotline did a very good job with that. I personally received text messages and phone calls and then the MU Facebook page was updated quickly as well,” she said.
“Our students are safe and secure, and the current situation appears to be resolved. I will provide updates in the event of any significant changes to the status of this incident, which is now an active investigation with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office,” said Brown. “Campus safety is a responsibility we all share, and I am deeply appreciative of our outstanding record of maintaining an open campus that is both safe and welcoming,” he continued.
Due to these events, Andrew Lee, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services emailed the students explaining that anyone interested in speaking with a counselor is welcome to visit the Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) office, located on the 3rd floor of the Stafford Student Center. Counselors are available from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also contact CPS via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 732-571-7517, and they can arrange an appointment time.