Shooter contemplated EWU, other universities as targets

Alleged shooter had a hit list written in his journal, prospective universities were Central Washington, WSU, Seattle Pacific and Eastern

By Jasmine Kemp, News Editor

Amidst gunfire around the country, campus police at EWU are on high alert.

On June 5, one person was shot dead and two others were sent to the hospital after a man started shooting on Seattle Pacific University’s campus. The shooter was eventually pepper sprayed and restrained by students and faculty.

According to the initial review from Seattle police, the Seattle Pacific University shooter kept a diary detailing his desire to target Washington State University and Central Washington University. A Seattle Times article detailing the shooter’s appearance in court on June 10 added Eastern Washington University to the list of schools and subsequent reports from various local news channels have reaffirmed the addition.

Chief Gary Gassling of campus police said he heard conflicting reports but thought it made sense that the shooter could have targeted EWU due to its location among the other universities.

EWU sent out an email to students and faculty hours after the shooting reminding the community about safety campus alerts and vigilance.

“When something like this happens around our area or around the country, we’re always on high alert,” said Gassling. “We remind our officers what they need to do.”

Gassling confirmed reading a news story about how the shooter was physically on EWU grounds scoping out the campus mall. However that report is not going to change how the campus police department goes about their business.

“It’s statistically proven that there’s no profile,” said Gassling.

He said that police are restricted by the law on what they can do. For example, he said that an officer can walk by and say hello to a person on campus, but if they refuse to respond or tell the officer to leave them alone, that is not a lawful reason to profile them and do anything more than continue on with their patrol.

“There’s not enough of us to be around everywhere. That’s why we rely on our university people,” he said.

Gassling said he wants people to know that if they see something suspicious to call. Gassling’s concern was not limited to campus shootings either. A recent shooting where a woman and a man gunned down two police officers while having lunch and shot bystanders at a Wal-Mart reiterated the chief of campus police’s urge to say something.

NBC News reported that Kelly Fielder, a friend of the suspects, heard talk from them about killing police officers in the past.

“Please don’t be afraid to call us,” Gassling said. “There was a woman in the Nevada shooting who was in tears saying she wished she called the police. Please don’t be afraid to call.”