Shot sends shockwaves through Kent campus

Madeline Winer

Joey Valeriano, a senior business management major, was in a business strategy and policy class in the Business Administration Building around 9:15 p.m. when an alarm started going off.

“It was this weird beeping,” he said. “No one knew what it was.”

 A voice came over the PA system and announced a shot had been fired at Bowman Hall, then said a shot had been fired in the Business Administration Building.

 “Police came in with rifles yelling, ‘Get down, get down,’” Valeriano said. “It was so quick. [There was] not much time to think. It was reassuring when we saw the police right away. It was reassuring they were there already and things were under control. If that alert had gone off and [we had] not seen police, more people [would have been] nervous and worried.”

 At around 8:45 p.m., alarms sounded across campus signaling a campus lockdown after the university confirmed a black male fired a single shot into the ground outside Bowman Hall Wednesday. The suspect was apprehended at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night and is being held in custody at Robinson Memorial Hospital, the Associated Press reported.

Students around campus were notified of the lockdown via FlashAlert text messages and Flashline Messages. Many of them shared their stories and reactions to the incident via social media.

Nicole Lozier, a senior international relations major, tweeted “KID JUST SHOT A FUCKIN GUN,” from her twitter handle @nikilozier at 8:27 p.m., around the time the shooting took place.

Before she took to social media about Wednesday night’s events, Lozier said she notified the information desk in the Student Center.

She was walking from her Province apartment to campus for a meeting when she saw two people who seemed to be arguing. Paying little attention to the couple, Lozier only perked up when she heard a bang.

“I looked over and the girl ran away screaming, and the guy had a gun in his hand,” she said.

Trying to keep her calm, Lozier “quietly walked away” until she reached the Esplanade. At that time, she started running and ran to the information desk at the Student Center, who then called the police.

“I noticed other people on the Esplanade got wide-eyed for a second, but no one else reacted to the sound,” Lozier said about her surroundings.

Valeriano said he and his classmates were released from the building around 10:30 p.m. He said they didn’t see the shooter nor did they hear any gunshots.

Michael Vendely, a sophomore visual communication design major, said he heard a really loud bang as his dorm room is on the ground floor of Olson Hall.

“It sounded like fireworks on campus or something dumb like that,” he said. “About a half an hour later is when the PA system told us to lock down so we shut our doors, shut our windows.”

Amanda Tidwell, sophomore theatre studies major, said she was walking toward Bowman Hall when two police officers told her to turn around and get out of the area. She hadn’t gotten the FlashAlerts text messages yet.

“I couldn’t go the one direction, and I couldn’t go back, so I just walked forward. The closest thing was the honors building,” said Tidwell, who had undergone A.L.I.C.E. training her freshman year as part of her First Year Experience course. “The RAs told the three of us to hide in a room with everyone else who was downstairs in the lobby.”

She said at least 10 people were in the Honors College lobby at the time of the lockdown with RAs having a meeting asking them if they felt comfortable to rush and attack someone if they had to.

Jordan Adkins, a sophomore psychology major, was out running on campus about 200 meters from the Business Administration Building around the time the shots were fired. She said someone told her about the shooting and went to the Hub and waited for the lockdown to end.

University spokesman Eric Mansfield said leaders of the campus’s 25 residence halls met with Dean of Students Shay Little after the incident. Residence halls sent out emails and made their staffs available to talk about the lockdown with students and offer them support.

 “As you can imagine, this has been a tough evening for our students but they fared very well,” Mansfield said. “They followed the instructions that were went out over the text alerts, Flashline and elsewhere telling people to shelter in place.”

 Mansfield said there would be a press conference with more details about the suspect and the incident Thursday morning.

 “Tonight we are relating that information that the threat has been arrested off campus, that they no longer have to feel worried stepping out of their dorms and that their campus is their campus again tonight.”

Students seeking additional support can go to Kent State Psychological Services in DeWeese Health Center.

Daily Kent Stater staff members Nathan Havenner, Emily Mills, Taylor Williams and Audrey Fletcher contributed reporting. Contact Madeleine Winer at [email protected].