By Sophia Harris
Police are currently investigating a gunshot that was fired in close proximity to West Hall on Oct. 12 as well as bullet casings that were found in the Maynard Road Parking Lot by students the following day.
No one was injured in this incident, according to an email sent by Dean of Students Meg Nowak Borrego on Oct.14.
University and Framingham Police do not believe there is any ongoing threat to the community at this moment, according to the email.
“Two students reported finding a bullet casing in the Maynard Road parking lot,”according to the email.
This finding “prompted police to search security camera footage, where they discovered a Black male suspect who fired the shot at around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday,” the email stated.
The shooting on Thursday morning, according to the email, was the result of a “physical altercation involving a group of suspects that occurred around the same time.”
According to the email, police are “still investigating whether or not the suspect was aiming for anyone when the shot was fired.”
Nowak Borrego said there is no ongoing threat to the community.
She said the University is continually working to make FSU safe.
She emphasized, “If you see something, say something.”
Nowak Borrego said she hopes the police are able to “identify what happened and who did it so they can hold them accountable.”
An email sent on behalf of University police by the Dean of Students on Oct. 19 stated they will continue to investigate the incident.
The email stated University Police are “continuing to investigate the incident and we can not disclose more information because it may jeopardize the investigation.”
The email stated, “Our University Police patrol the campus on foot and in cruisers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The safety of our community is our number one priority.”
Nowak Borrego said the investigation is a “multi-agency effort.”
Deputy Chief Martin Laughlin is overseeing the investigation along with Framingham Police.
Chief of Police Joseph Cecchi is currently on a planned vacation, so he will not be leading the investigation, according to Laughlin.
Laughlin said this incident “appears to be isolated,” which is why there is no ongoing threat to the community.
He said the reason the email was sent to the community as a “Safety Bulletin” instead of an FSU Alert is because the threat to the community had already passed by the time the bullet casings were found.
An FSU alert would have been issued if there were an active shooter. Laughlin said the email was sent to students and faculty on Saturday because University Police were still working on getting all the correct information for the community.
“We wanted all the information we possibly could to make sure that we're giving out the proper information to the FSU community. That doesn't happen in two minutes,” he said.
He added, “A lot of stuff goes on behind the scenes - a lot of phone calls being made.”
Laughlin added the biggest lead on the investigation was the “footage we got on camera.”
He said the department will continue to be more visible, especially “with everything going on in the world today. Everyone's on heightened security.”
He added, “Everyone's on high alert.”
Laughlin said, “If someone's feeling unsafe, regardless of what time of day it is, we do offer safety escorts.”
He added, “If anyone ever has any questions about anything, our doors always open.
“I'm here all the time. So if they would like to schedule a meeting with me or speak to an officer, that's what we're here for.”
President Nancy Niemi said students “need to be safe, which I believe they are.”
She added, “We're a public institution, and we are just like any other public institution. We are always vulnerable … but we've got a great Police Department.”
She said a shooting on campus has “never happened before.”
Niemi said, “We can be as confident about the protection of our students in our community as we can be, putting all the measures in place.
“We're trying to make sure we find out everything we can about what happened so that we can bring that to closure as well,” she said.
Senior Kathryn Hansson said after learning about the incident, she feels “really confused.”
Hansson said, “The email that the school sent out made it sound like it was no big deal, but I feel like there's no way to be like, ‘Oh, I'm so safe’ after that because it's just so peculiar.”
Freshman Sebastian Garcia said he thinks the University Police “spends too much time on ticketing.”
He added, “We have a bullet in the side of the building right now. There might be guns on campus or whatever. They should probably focus on that, in my opinion.”
Senior Jomelly Munoz Fernandez said, “I feel safe because I've seen crazier things in my life.”
She added she hopes that University Police will keep students “in the loop” of how the investigation is progressing.
“It makes me wonder what the follow-ups are and what they are doing to make sure that this doesn't happen again,” she said.
She added, “I don't feel unsafe because it was just that one incident, and no one was hurt, which makes me feel better.”
Junior Mark Cote said he hopes University Police will increase their presence around parking lots on campus and the paths that students take to get to them.
“In general, people shouldn’t just rely on the police. People should try to travel in groups, bring a flashlight, bring their phone, and take the shuttle,” he said.
Framingham State Police urged anyone with any information about these incidents to contact Framingham State University Police at 508-626-4911 or use the anonymous tip line. Tips can be texted to 67283 using the word “FSUTIP,” followed by the message.