For efforts with the May 6, 2009 shooting near Wesleyan’s campus, the Wesleyan University Public Safety Department was honored with the Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association President’s Award for Outstanding Performance on June 14.
C. G. “Neil” McLaughlin Jr., chief of police at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. nominated David Meyer, director of Public Safety at Wesleyan and the Wesleyan officers for this honor.
His recommendation read:
“On May 6th at 1 p.m. a man in disguise, wig, beard, mustache and glasses entered the campus bookstore about a block and a half from the Public Safety Office at Wesleyan University and shot a female student who was working in the café inside the bookstore. The gunmen fired several rounds into the female student worker in front of several witnesses and fled the scene.
The suspect discarded his disguise and blended in with the bystanders as Public Safety Officers from Wesleyan and the Middletown Police Department arrived on scene moments later. He was identified at the scene but no one realized that he was the shooter. During the investigation after the school was shut down and students alerted to the shooting and advised to stay in their residences, his vehicle was found parked at the bookstore and impounded. The puzzle started to come together.
Within 48 hours of the shooting the suspect who had been positively identified and his picture published in the local newspapers surrendered himself to police in a neighboring city. He was brought to the Middletown Police Department where he was charged with the murder of the Wesleyan student.
The Wesleyan Office of Public Safety did an outstanding job in responding to and containing this horrendous situation. According to news accounts, the shooter’s intent, after shooting the victim, was to roam the campus and randomly kill students of Jewish descent. The quick response by the agencies involved; the timely shut down of the campus and emergency warnings to the students; and other elements of police/public safety coordination kept the rest of the campus safe while this person was on the loose. As I understand the news reports, the department did an outstanding job of coordinating the response; working with the responding law enforcement agencies and securing the university during this horrendous time.”
The Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association (NECUSA), established in 1953, is the oldest campus law enforcement organization in the United States. Originally intended to be a small group of campus security and police professionals coming together to share information on issues facing their campuses, the organization grew from eight loosely organized members to an organization over 400 members strong.