By Madi Cook and Da`Quan Martin
“Ahh sh*t, they’re shooting!” senior Ian Thorne said. “I was scared because from my room you see and hear everything, and then BOOM!”
Many students at Wesley College were rattled in the early hours of Feb. 10 when they heard gunshots one block from campus.
Taylor Childers, a nearby Dover resident who lives across from Wesley campus said on North Governors Avenue, said, “The shots sounded like they were so close that they could have hit me.”
She said she sat up and immediately and looked out the window that directly overlooks campus. It was quiet. She saw no one. Everything appeared normal.
Dover Police said the shooting took place around 2 a.m. on the 200 block of West Reed Street. Police said multiple gunshots were fired, three people were injured and one was found dead.
Police said 34-year-old Tiffany Montgomery of Dover was found dead with a gunshot wound in the upper body. The three injured included a 27-year-old woman with a wound to her foot, a 39-year-old man who was shot in the shoulder, and a 45-year-old man who was wounded in the leg. None of their injuries were life threatening.
Sophomore David Pierre said he was in his dorm room in Roe Hall playing his game system with friends when they heard the gunshots.
“We walked our friends back to their room after the coast was clear,” he said.
Students have complained that Wesley is an open campus and do not feel safe.
Sophomore Imani Quarles said she doesn’t feel secure on campus.
“The environment in Dover is really ghetto,” she said. “Anybody can come on to campus at any time and do anything.”
Senior Rex Chege said he heard the shots.
“First thing I could think about was my family and friend’s safety,” he said.
This is not the first shooting that students have been able to hear from campus.
Garrick Cornish, the director of public safety at Wesley College, said Wesley’s crime log and a majority of issues have been “internal,” and that any of the criminal activity in the surrounding area has had minimal impact on the campus.
“Public Safety has a great relationship with the Dover Police Department and a connection with the Delaware Information and Analysis Center,” he said. “If there are any potential threats towards campus we would be notified and a mass notification with instructions would be sent to our campus community using our Wesley Alert System.”
According to city-data.com, the 2018 Dover crime rate rose by 12% compared to 2017. In the last 5 years Dover has seen an increase in violent crime and a decrease in property crime. https://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Dover-Delaware.html.
A Dover resident who preferred to stay anonymous said that Dover’s crime is only getting worse.
“Dover is so overlooked because of other Delaware cities’ crime rates,” she said.
While on her way into a Wawa near campus with a friend recently, the Dover resident and her friend were grabbed by two men before they entered and then ran into the Wawa.
The Wawa employee walked the two back to their car and asked the men who had been loitering outside to leave.
She contacted the Dover police department.
“I feel like the problem was just brushed to the side as if it wasn’t a big concern,” she said. “They are hearing about problems but it seems like nothing is being done.”
Cornish said that having an open campus can attract off campus vehicles and traffic, but said the public safety office takes many measures to keep Wesley’s open campus safe.
There is controlled access to all resident halls, patrols by foot, bike, and vehicle constantly on watch on campus, he said. The campus currently has six blue emergency phones in parking lots and one at Johnston Hall.
“Public Safety is always seeking innovative ways to maintain safety and security on campus through training and also by networking with other Public Safety entities to bounce ideas off of and keep up with our industry’s best practices,” Cornish said.
Students can contribute to the campus’s safety by utilizing Public Safety’s text-a-tip program, “I’m Aware,” he said. This program allows students a hot line Public Safety and allows individuals to text “Imaware” followed by any tip or information to the number 79516, if there is any suspicious activity or safety concerns on campus.
Dover police said they are still investigating the Feb. 10 shooting that left one dead. No one has been arrested.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Dover Police Department at (302)736-7111. Callers may remain anonymous. Tips may also be submitted to law enforcement through Delaware Crime Stoppers at 800-TIP-3333 or online at delawarecrimestoppers.com; a cash reward of up to $1,000 is possible for information leading to an arrest.