Two female students were shot on campus with what is believed to be a BB gun from a passing Jeep Nov. 7. One was treated at Strong Memorial Hospital and released while the other, a student at the Eastman School of Music, declined medical care. Additionally, three city residents were shot off campus and released from Strong.
The vehicle is described as a late model hunter green Jeep Cherokee with tinted windows, according to UR Security.
The first two letters of the license plate are “MJ.”
Around 2:30 p.m., the first victim was walking toward Intercampus Drive from Meliora Hall when a pellet struck the left side of her face. Shortly afterwards, a second undergraduate was shot in the arm while walking on Library Road near the Dandelion Square crosswalk, according to Director of UR Security Walter Mauldin.
At 2:45 p.m. a pedestrian was shot near the intersection of Brown Street and West Main. A fourth victim, a young teen, was shot near the intersection of Goodman Street and Rockingham Street around 3:15 p.m. Another city resident was hit while riding a bicycle on State Street near the Empire Brewery around 3:45 p.m.
Senior Michelle Coleman was one of the victims. “I didn’t think it was that big a deal at first,” Coleman said. “I didn’t realize until later what really could have happened.”
“Obviously, [the Washington-area sniper incident] is on everyone’s mind,” Mauldin said. “We’re just glad that the injuries were not as bad as they could have been.”
Mauldin believes that this was a random incident and was not specifically targeting UR. “We were singled out as a sight of convenient opportunity,” Mauldin said.
Currently, UR Security is reviewing video footage taken from cameras primarily directed toward parking lots for anything that may help the investigation. “We’re not going frame by frame, but [we’re still reviewing everything carefully],” Mauldin said.
This, however, is not the only incident involving what are believed to be non-affiliated suspects this year. In early September, groups of Rochester youths attacked two freshmen on campus in separate incidents. Later in the month, a Monroe Community College student was charged with criminal mischief for breaking into cars on campus.
Mauldin points out that this semester’s incidents have quantitatively “not been noteworthy. The campus numbers are about the same this year, although [these incidents] are definitely out of the ordinary,” Mauldin said.
“We’re a college in an urban setting,” Dean of Students Jody Asbury said.
“Certainly [the shooting] was nothing that could have been expected or prevented.”
“I was freaked out more than anything else,” Coleman said. “I’m a little more nervous walking across campus, but I don’t think this is something that is going to happen all the time.”
Freshman Francine Brown is also concerned by the incident. “It’s kind of strange because you feel sheltered on a smaller campus, but then this happens and you don’t feel as comfortable anymore,” Brown said.
“There’s nothing stopping people from coming on campus,” she said.
This incident has not changed some students view on the safety of campus. “I don’t feel any less safe,” junior Gwendolyn Olton said. “That stuff can happen anywhere and it does happen everywhere.”
Sophomore Rachel Gabriel agrees ? “I’m not really worried.”
“In college, we think we’re invincible, but we’re not,” Olton said. “We have to get used to having others on campus.”
“I wouldn’t say that danger has increased dramatically, but [this incident] makes you second-guess the safety of the campus,” freshman Philip Reichenberger said.
If you believe you might have seen anything that may aid the investigation, contact UR Security at x53333.
Additional reporting by Karen Taylor and Taylor Yunis.