Off-campus shooting raises communication concerns

Edwardsville Police and Illinois State Police investigators responded to an off-campus shooting incident at The Reserve apartment complex on Halloween afternoon.

One resident avoided being the getaway driver, but she didn’t know it at the time

Many students were worried by the Halloween shooting at The Reserve, an off-campus student apartment complex, and confused by the lack of communication, while one woman narrowly avoided her car being used by the suspect to get away.  

One SIUE student and Reserve resident reported the shooter attempting to get into her car and asking her for a ride. She wishes to remain anonymous because the suspect has not been arrested at the time of publication. The U.S. Marshals are currently assisting with the search, according to Edwardsville police.

The student said the suspect approached her car as she was getting ready to go home for the weekend. He walked in front of her car and couldn’t see her at first due to her tinted windows. Once he was standing in front of her car, he noticed she was in there and knocked on her driver side window.

“He knocked on the window, so I rolled it down probably an inch and I was like, ‘Yeah? Can I help you?’ and he was like, ‘Hey do you have Uber on your phone?’ I was like, ‘No, I’m sorry,’ which I did [have Uber], but I didn’t know his situation because at this point I had no idea what was going on because I guess this had just happened … He was just getting angry, so then he started walking away and I was like, ‘Okay that was weird.’”

A few moments later, he approached her vehicle again from the other side and was more aggressive.

“Then he came to my passenger side door this time. That window was also   cracked and he started knocking on it like, ‘Can you at least just give me a ride? I need to get out of here. I don’t have any money. I just need to get out of here,’ and I was like ‘I’m sorry I’m leaving town I can’t help you.’ After that happened, he started cussing at me and he tried yanking on my door handle, so I started to put my car in reverse and ... he ran through my building, 550, so I backed up and that’s when I saw all the cop cars down at 540 and fire trucks and ambulances. I saw him running away and at this point he ran over to the Axis apartments.”

She didn’t discover what had occurred until she got a call from a friend while driving home informing her about the e-lert the school put out.

“Then that was when the police released that there was a shooting and that also freaked me out double. I had to pull over on the side of the interstate because I was so emotional that he could have — I didn’t believe that he would have hurt me besides getting in my car, I don’t think he would have — but like the idea that he had hurt somebody before kind of freaked me out. Also, back in 2018 or 2017 I had a school shooting so it just hit a little close to home that I was that close to a shooter.”

The anonymous source wasn’t the only Reserve resident who found out about the incident much later. Sophomore forensic chemistry major Trae Gorden, of McLeansboro, Illinois, said he didn’t receive an email from The Reserve until later that evening.

“The Reserve was really late on the communication. We did not get a text or phone call or anything. I didn’t get an email sent to me by The Reserve until — I think the timestamp on it is 7:36 in the [evening]  and … they didn’t really explain the situation that had happened,” Gorden said. “They practically just told us there was an incident at The Reserve and they couldn’t give us any description, but I had two emails from the school telling me what had happened and what the suspect looked like.”

Senior speech language pathology major Allison Norris, of Coal City, Illinois, said she was worried for her roommates because they were walking outside when the police arrived, unaware of what had just happened.

“Initially I was worried because my roommates were, like, out walking around around that time and none of the police officers really mentioned that there was a shooting or that something that serious had happened. We were a little bit bothered by that,” Norris said. “We understood why they didn’t tell us, but we just wish we had been more informed from the beginning. We understand information can’t just be given out to everyone at that moment, because then rumors spread and it gets a lot more complicated.” 

The anonymous student said she was also concerned about the late communication from The Reserve because there are residents who aren’t SIUE students.

“I feel like since this was so serious, they should let us know right away as soon as they know,” the student said. “We have an app for Reserve [residents] to use and we didn’t get a message on our community board until later that night, and there are residents here that aren’t students at SIUE, so I feel like it’s just as important for them to know too.”

Josh Lindsey, assistant general manager of The Reserve, said the email to residents came out later because they did not get confirmed information from the police. 

“I was not here on the day of the incident, but basically even when we asked the police what was going on they would not give us a direct answer,” Lindsey said. “We were trying to get some sort of newsletter or information out to our residents, but we were having to go as we were getting information.”

Edwardsville Police Department Major Michael Fillback said officers had made Reserve management aware of what had occurred.

“They were aware that there was a shooting and the suspect had fled the scene. We didn’t ask anyone to withhold information,” Fillback said.

For more information, see The Alestle’s previous coverage.

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