Volume 94, Issue 64

Wednesday, January 17, 2001


NEWS

Threat of gun violence rocks King's

Quebec attacks brain drain - New tax cuts target high-tech profs

USC motion could change VP voting

Smart cards on hold - Privacy issue raises questions

RRU gets a military discharge - BC university goes from military to civilian

Briefs

Planet Me

Threat of gun violence rocks King's

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

A King's College student has been charged with uttering a death threat after telling fellow students he was going to get a gun and kill someone.

According to Const. Ryan Holland of the London Police, 20-year-old Eric Kennedy was in the student lounge with other students when an argument arose. The dispute centered around a racial comment made by Kennedy, he said.

"They were watching television and [Kennedy] made a comment about someone on TV," Holland explained. "Someone took exception to the comment."

Kennedy then left the lounge and indicated he was going to retrieve a gun from his residence room, he said.

According to King's principal Gerry Killan, Kennedy's residence advisor was notified of the situation and quickly attempted to diffuse the situation. "[The RA] told people to get into their rooms," Killan said. "Then he got [Kennedy] outside and tried to calm him down."

Soon thereafter, police arrived on the scene and arrested Kennedy outside of the residence. According to Holland, police also seized an air gun from the suspect which officers said closely resembled an ordinary gun.

Kennedy, a first-year student at King's, was charged with uttering a death threat, an offence punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Holland also said alcohol was a factor in the incident.

"My first reaction is one of shock and sadness for the whole situation," Killan said, adding Kennedy has been suspended for one week while King's College investigates the incident.

Residence contracts, which are signed by each student, prohibit the possession of any weapons in residence and if all charges are confirmed, Kennedy will face expulsion, Killan explained.

In the wake of the incident, Killan said a review of security measures would be conducted by the college. "Student safety is paramount and we must have due diligence on that issue," he said. "We'll certainly review the process, but we've got good security and good residence staff."

King's College Student Council president, Mike Lawless, said he has never worried about his safety at any of the affiliate colleges before. "[Safety] has never been a concern to me," he said. "We have able security guards."

Combating incidents of random gun violence is tremendously difficult for law enforcement officials, said Sgt. Bob Earle of the University Police Department, which cover most of Western's campus, but not King's College, which provides its own security.

"We're never going to be in a position to predict something like this without a prior history," he said. "That's why it's so frightening. It could happen to anyone, anywhere."




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