Armed carjacker causes campus wide panic
Breanna Brink, Staff Writer
Saint Martin’s University was placed on full lockdown on Monday, Feb. 12. With the SMU Alerts system sending out warning texts and emails to students that there was an armed individual on campus, all of Saint Martin’s was plunged into lockdown for more than 90 minutes. Driving up to campus like any ready student would, several students were swarmed by police and locked out of various buildings while the lockdown began to take full effect. Most students outside were ushered off campus by armed police officers and those who had no vehicles fled back to the dorms. Another staff writer, Hannah Gabel, was unaware of the SMU alert till she was already in the parking lot, and by that time the event was in full swing. No one outside knew how bad the situation was and no one inside had access to external necessities. Those trapped in classrooms used garbage cans to relieve themselves, while some students sought to escape classrooms and dorms and leave campus.
While the gunman’s name will not be published till he has been through court, the Lacey Police report states, “A 32-year-old Tacoma man was booked into the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of first-degree robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, and hit and run. He was arrested at about 6:15 p.m. Monday at his sister’s house in the 4800 block of Pacific Avenue Southeast.”
Lacey Police tweeted Tuesday morning that “We’d like to thank the community in their assistance in this matter.” The Chronicle expanded more on the story by revealing that the armed man had crashed his vehicle on Carpenter Road, and subsequently stole another vehicle at gunpoint. The weapon he possessed was reported as looking like a silver pistol, no more details have been given on the weapon. After this car-jacking, the suspect abandoned the Ford Taurus near the Saint Martin’s Pavilion and fled into campus. “Police set up a perimeter and started a K-9 search, but the suspect was not found. The incident triggered an emergency lockdown at the university.” A partial lockdown was also issued at Lacey and Mountain View elementary schools, as well as Cornerstone Christian Academy and Northwest Christian High School.
Saint Martin’s lifted its lockdown when the suspect was confirmed to no longer be on campus after the k-9 unit had searched the campus as well as the trails behind it. Students were free to go about their day, and some professors canceled classes, while others felt the need to host class for the purpose of discussion. Even Public Safety felt the need to open the floor for conversation, and has issued a survey to gauge the feeling of our students to see how safe they feel here on campus.
President Heynderickx himself released a small overview of the events, thanking Saint Martin’s students and staff for being so patient and handling the situation as best they could. “ Dear campus community, Thank you for your cooperation during this morning’s lockdown. At 10:45 a.m., Saint Martin’s Lacey campus was put on lock-down when Lacey Police reported that an armed male involved in a car-jacking off-campus was last seen driving onto campus and then fled on foot. Lacey Police was on campus and set up a perimeter south and east of campus. The lockdown was lifted at 12:16 p.m. Our Public Safety office will continue to work with Lacey Police and will share follow-up information. The Belltower will be following this article with an updated article in our next edition as we receive more information on the lockdown.