Alumnus attempts suicide on campus
Published: Monday, November 14, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 05:11
A university alumnus shot himself in the chest on the east patio of Morris Library Friday morning in an alleged suicide attempt, according to university police.
The 26-year-old Newark resident, who graduated in 2008, used his own semi-automatic handgun to shoot himself at approximately 6 a.m., according to university police Chief Patrick Ogden. There were no witnesses to the shooting, but a custodial employee working in the commons called police, he said.
Officers were on the scene within a few minutes, Ogden said, and the victim told police he had shot himself. The university Emergency Care Unit transported the man to Christiana Hospital in stable condition, he said.
"This was a very unfortunate incident, but within minutes of receiving the 911 call, UD police officers arrived at the library, began providing first aid, secured the weapon and confirmed there was no danger to the community," Ogden said.
Weapons are not permitted on the university campus, university spokeswoman Meredith Chapman said, and while university police do not plan to charge the victim, officials will confer with the Attorney General's office.
The Office of Public Safety and the Office of Communications and Marketing sent an alert to approximately 37,000 students, faculty and parents between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., within an hour of the library's 8 a.m. opening to inform the university community about the incident.
The information was sent through the UD Alert system, was also posted on the university's Facebook and Twitter accounts and the website's homepage, Chapman said.
"UD's Director of Public Safety, Vice President of Student Life and Vice President of Communications and Marketing determined an alert should be sent to keep the campus community from becoming alarmed, particularly with hundreds of alumni returning to campus for the Homecoming festivities over the weekend," Chapman said.
Ogden said once the area was secured, police were sure no one was in danger.
Sophomore Sean Parnella received the alert several minutes before his 9:05 a.m. class on Friday and said he felt the notice was well-timed.
"Number one, it didn't affect me," Parnella said. "Number two, I didn't feel like whether they had told me or not my safety was in jeopardy. Plus I didn't want an alert really early because then I would be sleeping."
Freshman Jesse Scott said an earlier warning would have been beneficial for people who were on campus closer to the time of the shooting.
"I know people on my floor went out and saw the cops and they were really freaked out about it," Scott said. "They were walking by and they just didn't know what was going on and it was kind of scary."
Freshman Rachel Robbins said she still feels safe because the alumnus was not trying to harm anybody, but she was alarmed by the presence of a gun on campus.
"It's weird that somebody came onto campus with a gun," Robbins said. "It kind of made me think that anybody could be doing anything on our campus."