By Marissa Alfano and Eric Tifft, Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor
Just before 6 p.m. Monday, students reported seeing Sigma Chi members flee the fraternity house at 30 Williams Drive. Sophomore Eric Dixon, a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, said he was in the library of the Delt house on 20 Williams Drive when the incident occurred.
“I saw multiple Sig Chi members running from their house,” Dixon said. “One member stopped and hit the emergency beacon multiple times and kept running.”
Minutes later about seven Delaware police officers approached Sig Chi with assault rifles drawn to establish a perimeter around Sig Chi, Dixon said. Sophomore Sigma Phi Epsilon Vince Donofrio said the event unfolded quickly.
“I looked out my window and saw police with assault rifles like in ‘Call of Duty,’” Donofrio said.
Officers arrived three minutes later at 5:51 p.m., at which point the scene was contained. The reporting officer, John Radabaugh, said the student was charged with trespassing and after a thorough search of the premises, no weapon or ammunition was found, according to DPD.
“I saw him with a gun on his desk and a magazine being loaded.”
At 5:48 p.m. Monday, Delaware Police Department (DPD) received a call alleging that junior Zachary Glazer had a gun in the Sigma Chi Fraternity house on 30 Williams Drive.
A brother of Sig Chi placed the call after he said he saw the suspect with a gun on his desk loading a magazine. He was in communication with a DPD dispatcher for six minutes and 16 seconds. Below is a portion of the conversation:
(:37) Dispatcher: “You said there’s a man with a gun?”
(:39) Caller: “Yes.”
(3:06) Caller: “I saw him with a gun on his desk and a magazine being loaded.”
(3:14) Dispatcher: “Okay. I’m sorry, you saw him physically with a gun?”
(3:18) Caller: “Yes.”
(4:38) Dispatcher: “Do you know what kind of gun it is that he owns?”
(4:40) Caller: “It was a handgun.”
Fraternity hill evacuates
Sig Chi and Delta Tau Delta fraternity men were directed to evacuate and were relocated to Sigma Phi Epsilon’s chapter room, according to Sig Ep sophomore Hank Owings.
Members of Delt were just sitting down for dinner when an officer entered the house and instructed everyone to evacuate to Sig Ep, said sophomore Jonathon King-Kaplan.
“Most of us were huddled around windows trying to see what was going on,” King-Kaplan said. “I figured they evacuated us to Sig Ep so there would be a buffer in case bullets began to fly.”
Students remained at Sig Ep for an hour and a half to two hours. The location was chosen because of Sig Ep’s sound emergency floor plan.
According to Sip Ep Residential Assistant (RA) Senior James Dibiasio, Sig Ep does not have a standard procedure for the situation that happened, but they do have evacuation procedures in place for similar emergencies that could arise.
“We practice twice a semester. I think it would be beneficial to have PS officers talk to people in case anything like today happens so people have an idea what to do in the future,” Dibiasio said.
Out of the Loop
Dibiasio said he was eating dinner during the incident and was unaware of what was going on. When evacuated men showed up at Sig Ep, he was surprised.
He said he did not receive a phone call, text or any other notification from Public Safety about the situation until everyone was at the house.
No one on campus received any sort of OWU alert until after the incident had occurred, at 7:10 p.m. Monday night.
According to a mass e-mail sent to the campus community, an alert was not issued because the scene was contained so quickly and the suspect was in custody.
However, many students were upset that an emergency notification was not sent out at the time of the incident.
“It is times like these that we have an emergency alert system,” King-Kaplan said. “Look at the incident at Virginia Tech; students were alerted within 10 minutes of the shooting. I am appalled that the campus was not notified as to why a dozen heavily armed officers were present on campus.”
Junior Wesley Barnes, a member of Delt, said the incident was on Facebook almost immediately.
“It’s a little ridiculous that most of the students were alerted by reading the Facebook news feed,” Barnes said. “Maybe we should switch the emergency alert system to Facebook.”
Safety in numbers
“I knew we were all safe here (at Sig Ep),” Dibiasio said. “PS responded quickly. We were together, and I found safety in that. As a Greek community I am glad we came together and helped them in their need and they could feel safe here.”
Donofrio said he was relieved the situation ended well for everyone. “It was scary, but I’m glad that things worked out and the Greek community came together,” Donofrio said.
According to DPD reports, on Sunday at 9:24 p.m., Zachary Glazer was arrested for disorderly intoxication following an incident at 30 Williams Drive.
The report states that the suspect had been recently expelled from the fraternity and was becoming argumentative with other members and a PS officer. He was then arrested and held in the city jail until sober.
At 6:13 p.m., officers communicated with the student by cell phone and, at 6:16 p.m., he voluntarily exited the building. Police report that he was cooperative at all times.
According to Delaware City Police reports, no gun was ever observed and no weapon was discovered during an extensive search. The student, who is from California, withdrew from the university on Tuesday afternoon, according to Cole Hatcher, director of media and community relations.
from the president
In an e-mail at 11:59 a.m. on Tuesday morning, President Rock Jones said he wanted to remind the campus that student and employee personal safety was a priority.
“We work closely with the Delaware City Police and Fire departments to address issues quickly and effectively,” Jones said. “It also is important to note that City of Delaware statistics indicate serious crimes are trending downward in the community—by as much as 18 percent since 2005. Despite this drop in crime, there is increased communication about safety issues being shared with Ohio Wesleyan students, employees, and parents. Awareness is critical to crime prevention and personal safety.”
Jones said he would like to continue to remind everyone not to walk alone at night, not to listen to loud music with headphones that block outside sound, and to be aware of one’s surroundings at all times.
He also said he encourages people to report any concerns immediately and to utilize OWU’s SAFEwalk escort service, available from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
“We all play an important role in public and personal safety,” Jones said.
Jones said not to hesitate to contact him with questions or concerns.
Hatcher said students may get tired of reading emails about not walking alone or wearing headphones with music blaring, but these pieces of advice are really important.
Hatcher said PS, Student Affairs and he always evaluate protocol after an instance to decide if actions taken were effective during an incident and that if any students have question he wants to know what they are.
“We must take actions to support student safety,” Hatcher said.
A message from Sig Chi
“The Brothers of Sigma Chi would like to address the campus in explaining the events that occurred at our house in the afternoon and evening of Monday the 6th of February, 2012.
“At around 5:45 p.m.,one of our brothers witnessed what he believed to be parts of a firearm on the person of a former OWU student trespassing on our property.
“This individual had a history of irrational behavior that warranted us taking every precaution, and while we believe that he would never wish harm upon any student, the members of Sigma Chi always endeavor to take every precaution when firearms are concerned.
“Whenever the safety of any member of the student body is at stake, we take no chances and strive to respond as swiftly and effectively as possible.
“As such, once the threat was identified, we immediately evacuated the area and notified all appropriate authorities.
“We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Ohio Wesleyan Department of Public Safety, the Delaware Police Department, and all other campus officials involved in taking all necessary measures to ensure complete safety on campus.
We would also like to thank Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity for serving as a temporary safe house for the members of both Sigma Chi and Delta Tau Delta.
“No firearm was found after an exhaustive search, and our chapter house has been secured and is completely safe.
“The individual in question is no longer on campus and is barred from our property by both school and police policy.”