IvyLee Rosario and Robin Glynn – News Editor and General Assignment Reporter –
Last Wednesday, Southern students and faculty received an email regarding a gunman allegedly seen on Wintergreen Avenue near the Hamden Transfer Station. Everyone was advised to stay away from the area until the situation was dealt with.
“I was really concerned because nobody knew what was going on,” said Olivia Kale, 21, elementary education major. “I was in class when I got the text message alert, so my first instinct was to tell my other friends because they could’ve been anywhere else on campus.”
The Hamden Police responded to the incident around 1:30 p.m. in which a Hamden Transfer Station employee reported that he saw a man with a rifle.
According to the Hamden Police Department News Release, “Investigation revealed that an employee at the transfer station observed an individual, described as a male, possible Asian descent, approximately 5’6”, thin build, wearing a black jacket, was standing on the north end of the property, holding the rifle.”
Hamden Police went to investigate and searched the surrounding areas with the help of a K-9 unit. Police searched through the woods and neighboring streets but came up empty and did not find the person with an alleged gun.
“Sometimes I don’t feel as safe as I should here, with everything that has happened with schools and guns, it makes me terrified,” said Briana Cologna, 19, psychology major. “I’m from Newtown, where we just dealt with an awful experience, so the minute I hear about gunmen and schools I instantly think the worst.”
The New Haven Police Department and Southern’s University Police assisted Hamden Police with setting up a perimeter outside of the area.
Southern Police Chief Joseph Dooley said that University Police only helped with the perimeter and announcing the incident to the school. Since the incident did not occur on campus, Hamden Police handled the situation.
“We have an agreement with the New Haven Police Department and Hamden,” Dooley said when Southern Police helped in the investigation. “Anytime you shut a street down, it affects the area.”
The university was not shutdown and the area returned to normal after no evidence was found of the alleged gunman. Dooley said the investigation was never at a point to affect the campus; rather the investigation affected the flow of traffic because Wintergreen Avenue was shutdown.
“A perimeter had to be set up,” said Dooley. “For an hour or so, traffic was affected.”
During the course of the search, Wintergreen Avenue was closed to all pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
“I was relieved to hear that it might have been a false alarm but at the same time it makes me think, ‘how will we know when it’s actually real,’” said Cologna. “I don’t think we are really prepared if something were to happen.”