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Firearm found in Dolan Hall before Thanksgiving Break, investigation under way

JCUPD reinforces campus security when a resident is found in possession of several weapons.
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A resident in Dolan Hall is under investigation for possessing several weapons on John Carroll grounds.

Right before Thanksgiving Break, the John Carroll community was met with something they had not faced in over 20 years. On Nov. 21, 2023 at approximately 1:14 p.m, the John Carroll University Police Department received communication that there was a suspected firearm inside a freshman room in the Dolan Residence Hall due to a report from another resident in the building.

Immediately, the officers and Residence Life staff went to the room where the firearm was reported to be. At first, the student (whose name was redacted in the official police report) denied having the weapon but then reluctantly confessed after further questioning from JCUPD officers.

The weapon, which was identified as a Century Arms 7.62×39 MM VSKA (an AK pattern rifle) in the official police report, was located inside a guitar case that the student owned. Other weapons that the student possessed were turned over to officers including a folding knife and a sword. Accessories to the firearm that were also confiscated include a flashlight which was taped to the foregrip of the rifle, 60 rounds of ammunition contained in two 30-round magazines, a lubricating gun oil and two gun cable locks. Officers later returned to the scene to confiscate 16 additional rounds of ammunition that were found in the student’s desk drawer.

“My sister and dad had arrived to take me home for Thanksgiving break,” Dolan Hall Resident Joe Bilas ‘27 said. “We were in the lounge waiting for my laundry to finish up when the police walked down the hall to the RA’s office. No one knew why they were there.”

“It made me really uncomfortable knowing that it had made it on campus without anyone knowing,” Maria Karboski ‘27, another student in Dolan Hall, stated. “I do feel safe on John Carroll’s campus but this incident really scared me and now it’s made me rethink my sense of security on campus.”

The situation was resolved by 2:05 pm and information was later released via an email blast to the JCU student body. The student was suspended and was offered support as needed. Then, he was escorted off campus to Gesu to be picked up by his parents and it was confirmed that he left the area at approximately 5:45 pm. Currently, a non-criminal conduct investigation is underway and the student is prohibited from returning to campus or he will face a criminal trespassing charge pending a disciplinary hearing.

Interim Dean of Students Lisa Brown Cornelius told The Carroll News that this conduct process may look different than what students usually see due to the severity of the situation. Regarding the community, she also assured that the situation was not active, but that it is important that students continue to report anything that could be a potential safety concern to the proper parties.

“Reporting it gives us the opportunity to begin an investigation to understand why the person has this in their possession, those types of things,” Brown Cornelius told The Carroll News. “By reporting it, we continue to focus on the safety piece that gives us the chance to do that.”

According to a statement by Garry Homany, John Carroll’s Director of Regulatory Affairs and Risk Management, at an open student government meeting on Nov. 28, the last time an instance like this happened was in 2003. Nevertheless, Chief Jeffrey Daberko of JCUPD wants students to know that John Carroll is still safe amidst this event. However, security can only be maintained if students adopt a “see something, say something” mindset.

“There will always be thousands of students and only dozens of officers here,” Daberko told The Carroll News. “We need the help of the campus community, especially in reporting suspicious or hazardous situations, to keep the community safe.”

Brown Cornelius emphasized that the quick response time of officers shows how committed JCUPD and the Office of Residence Life is to the security of students. The John Carroll Police Department has said that “the safety and security of our community is our priority.” They also encourage those who witness suspicious activity to report the incident via the official police reporting line at 216-397-1234.

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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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