St. John’s has recently experienced an unprecedented amount of crime, including two off-campus assaults and an on-campus arrest within the last two weeks.
A St. John’s University student was assaulted on Goethals Ave. between 170th and 168th Streets on the evening of Sept. 10. He was taken to Mary Immaculate Hospital after suffering minor injuries.
The victim, a freshman pharmacy student and resident of Briarwood Hall, approached two mechanics working at Gate 6 at 6:55 p.m. and told them he had just been assaulted. His name is being withheld due to ongoing investigation by the 107th Precinct.
“He was well enough to walk to Public Safety to get assistance,” said Margaret McCann, executive director of Public Safety. We immediately responded and contacted NYPD and EMS.
The student alleged that he had been assaulted with an object, but his injuries were not life threatening, according to McCann. “I do not want to get into detail [with the object or injuries] because it is still under active investigation,” she added. “But we are happy to report that he is in stable condition and will return shortly”.
“He is in good spirits,” said resident and campus minister Brother Michael Sheerin after his visit with the student at Mary Immaculate on Friday Sept. 13. The student was planning to return to his home in New Jersey this past Saturday, where he will rest for a few weeks before returning to school, Sheerin said.
“I think students have nothing to worry about in terms of on-campus safety,” said Jody Fisher, director of Media Relations. “I would urge students, when they leave campus, to be careful, to be smart, travel with a friend or do whatever you do to ensure your safety.”
Man charged with larceny
Also on Sept. 10, a man was arrested and charged with larceny after he entered an empty office in St. Albert Hall and attempted to steal a woman√≠s wallet from her purse at 11:45 a.m.
Francis Sheehan, a professor from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences noticed the gentleman in an empty office in St. Albert Hall and asked if he needed assistance. “The gentleman then ran down the stairs and exited by the loading docks in the back of St. Albert Hall with the professor in pursuit yelling √stop him, stop him,” McCann said. “Everyone in the security office and maintenance ran out and a young man from maintenance literally tackled him at the turnstile at Gate 6.”
The offender immediately surrendered the wallet to Sgt. Robert Leo, the supervising officer on the scene. He was held until police arrived, when he was immediately charged with larceny.
St. John’s allows the public to visit the campus and utilize facilities such as the library or cafeterias. McCann suggested to be aware of everyone on campus and if any person looks suspicious then notify Public Safety immediately.
Assault at Gate 1
Finally, on September 5, a Public Safety officer was assaulted after denying three unidentified males entry onto campus through Gate 1 along Utopia Parkway at 2:22 a.m.
After the three men failed to produce St. John’s ID cards, the Public Safety officer, whose name is also being withheld because of the ongoing investigation by the 107th Precinct, was struck on the left side of the face and around the eye by a fourth male.
“The fourth person that he didn√≠t see attempted to strike the officer and made minimal contact to the left side of his face,” McCann said. “The four men all ran westbound towards the Grand Central Parkway.”
The victim, a retired NYPD officer of approximately 20 years, notified Public Safety using his radio and was in stable condition. He was unable to identify the assailants to the NYPD, but was confident that they were not St. John’s students.
Although there are two officers assigned to the gate the other officer left in the escort van at the time the assault took place, McCann said.
“I wish none of these things would have occurred but I don√≠t feel discouraged,” McCann said. “You try to anticipate, you try to be prepared, but you can never be prepared 100 percent and we√≠re learning from that.”
Public Safety will continue to analyze these events by looking at time patterns of these events and past statistics in order to work harder to ensure safety. “My commitment is to make St. John’s the safest place to be,” McCann said.