Shooting alerts Gannon students

Michael Guido, News Editor

The Gannon community was startled by the news of a shooting occurring in the 800 block of Walnut Street early Sunday morning.

The shooting, which left one person dead and another person injured, occurred just off campus. The fatal victim has been identified, but the name has been withheld.

Dan Spizarny, Erie’s chief of police, said that the site of the incident was a vacant apartment that was rented for a weekend party and was promoted on social media.

The victims were taken to UPMC Hamot, which was placed on temporary lockdown as a precautionary measure.

As of Monday morning, authorities had not released the names of the victims nor the suspect or suspects, and the investigation was still ongoing.

Spizarny said it is believed that this was not a random act of violence but instead a targeted attack that did not involve anyone connected to Gannon.

Further, Spizarny said that Erie Police will be taking active measures to solve this case.

“Erie Police will be scouring the neighborhood for witnesses who may have seen anything or have exterior video cameras,” Spizarny said.

When asked what Gannon students can do to be safer, Spizarny said to be careful.

“I suggest that students be very careful about attending parties that they do not know the people putting them on or others who are attending,” Spizarny said.

Spizarny added that given the presence of COVID-19, students have to be extra vigilant about the number of people they’re socializing with at any given time.

“We must be careful being in close proximity to others and having a large gathering in an apartment is just not a smart thing to do,” Spizarny said.

As of Monday, Gannon had eight people from the Erie campus in isolation. Since June 1, Gannon has had 30 students and four employees test positive for COVID-19 on the Erie campus, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Doug Oathout, Gannon’s chief of staff and director of marketing & communications, said in an email Sunday afternoon that while there was no threat to anyone in the Gannon community, it was a time to keep the victims in mind.

“Though there is no ongoing safety concern, our prayers go out to the victims,” Oathout said.

Oathout added some safety reminders for Gannon students when out and about.

Some of the recommendations include not traveling alone, being aware of your surroundings, staying in well-lit areas and reporting suspicious behavior.

“If you see something, say something,” Oathout said.

To do so, students are advised to report anonymous tips to Campus Police and Safety using the LiveSafe app.

Students were caught off guard by the news of the shooting, and some saw it as a chance to renew their efforts to be safe.

Levi Nugent, a senior freshwater marine biology major, said he was unaware of the shooting until just recently.

“I’m pretty shocked it happened,” Nugent said.

Nugent said he’s worried about students who may live off campus, and recommends they take added precautions when outside their homes.

“Either bike or walk to campus with friends,” Nugent said.