At 1:20 a.m. on Oct. 15, an incident occurred involving one male and three female McDaniel students and the occupant of a vehicle along West Main St. and Pennsylvania Ave. Many details about the encounter went out through two campus alerts sent via email, but the facts about whether the driver possessed a handgun or not remain murky.
In the security alert sent out Oct. 15, the email states that “The conversation between the driver and students in the group became heated and the vehicle abruptly drove off. The driver made a u-turn, and approached two students from the earlier group. The driver exited the vehicle, walked to the passenger side and proceeded to remove what one student described as a silver handgun from the glove compartment. The driver made several threatening statements to the students, returned the handgun to the glove compartment, and drove away.”
One of the students involved in the incident who asked not to be named said, “I never said I saw a gun. I saw a pouch,” and added, “all I did was look at his hand when he got out of the car. He had something in his hands.” The student continued, “I don’t know what the others said they saw.”
While the email did not state that the reports about whether or not there was a gun varied, with the wording of “one student described” Michael Webster, Director of Campus Safety and Adjunct Lecturer of the Sociology Department, says that there is a “clear implication there.”
Webster said, “It’s not at all uncommon for two people to see the same exact thing and for a variety of reasons to have different stories” and added, “from an investigator’s standpoint, it actually adds a credibility factor unless the stories are wildly different.”
A second email, sent Oct. 15 with the subject “Security Alert – UPDATE,” informed that “college officials have banned this individual – who has been recently involved with the school’s athletic department – from campus.”
While Webster would not comment on what way the individual was involved with the athletic department, other sources have identified defensive back coach Jimmy Williams as the individual involved with the incident.
The second email stated, “As of late Friday morning, the Westminster Police were interviewing an individual who voluntarily indicated involvement in the confrontation with several students that occurred early this morning along Pennsylvania Avenue.”
When asked if Campus Safety is still dealing with this matter, Webster replied that “the criminal investigation would be a police matter” and stated that “whenever there’s a firearm involved it’s always that way.” Webster said, “As far as the college goes, we’re done with it.”
Jeffrey Schuster, Detective Corporal of the Westminster Police and lead investigator of the Oct. 15 incident, was unable to be reached by staff reporters after multiple contact attempts.
“I am so grateful that no one got hurt or killed that night,” the anonymous student said. “Experiencing something like that makes me appreciate everyday that I get up.”