By Melissa Boyd (Whetstone Staff Writer)
At least two people fired four 9mm gunshots on the northeast side of Williams Hall in the early morning hours of Sept. 30, Wesley security says. No one was injured but three cars belonging to Wesley students were damaged.
The shooters, who have not been identified or arrested, walked up behind Williams Hall and fired the shots at 1:43 a.m., said Walter Beaupre, director of safety and security at Wesley.
Witnesses claim four shots were heard, but only two shell casings were found by Wesley security and Dover police, Beaupre said.
Beaupre said there were about 20 students outside at the time of the shooting.
“A 911 call was made to the police,” he said. “Wesley security and Dover police responded immediately.”
Mary Alice Ozechoski, dean of students, said security responded well.
“The challenge for us was students who were uncooperative,” Ozechoski said. “It’s unfortunate because we don’t believe it was a Wesley student.”
Ozechoski said not everyone received the security text message at the same time, stating that this was a technology problem, not the college’s fault.
Wesley was not put on a lockdown.
“People are adults,” she said. “They were told to go inside, and overall I think students were pretty frightened.”
Ozechoski said she received a call from Walt Beaupre early in the morning, while she was sleeping.
“Initially, the report was shots fired in the air – less scary,” she said. “When I got here and Dover police recovered three casings in cars and saw the video tapings, and how close students were to the cars, we were very lucky [to not have a student injured or killed].”
Ozechoski said students at the scene chose not to cooperate with the police.
“The more students cooperate, the more quickly we can assess the situation,” she said. “I met with students at Williams Hall and they don’t understand how serious it really was.”
Ozechoski said she met with Beaupre and the Chief of Dover Police on Oct. 6 to discuss the situation.
“It’s a big deal for us, as far as safety goes,” she said.
Ozechoski rates the shooting in her top 10 of most dangerous situations she’s seen as Wesley so far. Other situations include the suicide of Charles Conley and the death of Julia DeFelice last year.
“Nine hundred people live on this campus, and ultimately I’m responsible for them,” she said. “But I can’t treat them like they’re 5, or even 15.”
Four days prior to the Williams shooting, police reported a drive-by shooting on Bradley Street, in which a 57-year-old man was injured. On Sept. 21, near 30 S. New St., a 31-year-old man was shot in the upper right torso, according to the Dover Post.
Ozechoski suggests students walk on well-lit streets, walk in groups, and to be aware of their surroundings.
“[We’re] keeping in contact with Dover police,” she said. “[We have an] excellent relationship to foster that relationship.”
This summer, Wesley College hosted the Dover Air Force Base and Dover police in the DAFB’s “Active Shooting” program.
The program, which was held in Carpenter Hall, trained members of the air force base and Dover police on how to respond to an active shooter threat.
A text message and email sent to students later, which asked students to submit tips about the shootings by calling Wesley’s anonymous TIPS line at 302.747.5110.
“Every little detail may lead to someone’s arrest,” Ozechoski said.