Halloween Shootings in Newburgh have Students Questioning Their Own Safety

Image courtesy of: wpdh.com

By: Joe Kulesza

NEWBURGH, New York—— Mount Saint Mary students are questioning their safety, on and off campus, after a shooting that took place in early morning hours of Oct 30.

With an uneasy feeling looming over the student body and their parents, it is clear there are extra steps needed in order to ensure safety. But what exact precautionary measures will keep students out of harm’s way?

A security guard at The Mount, who requested to remain anonymous, is now one of the few  guards regularly posted at the security booth’s main entrance.

“Its a small step in the right direction,” said the guard. “Having someone posted there all the time to keep an eye on who drives into the campus is one of the many things our security staff plans to change.”

But is this enough to put the minds of students at ease when they want to venture off-campus to have a good time?  Ryan Verrillo, a junior at MSMC, doesn’t think it is enough.

“Almost every weekend I see someone walking around the college courts putting flyers on people’s cars,” said Verrillo. “They aren’t even for ‘KnightLyfe’ (rotation of bar social’s regularly frequented by Mount students) events. Security shouldn’t allow those to be passed out to the students.”

This issue did not come as a surprise to the security guard.

“Yes, our staff realizes that our students are going to find a way to have fun no matter what,” he admitted. “Our job with keeping students safe is making sure they attend only the events affiliated with our school. We’ve upped the amount of patrols and guards stationed in the courts to making sure no more flyers are being passed around.”

Newburgh has historically been considered a dangerous place to live or commute in, the infamous “left turn” being one a person in the know typically would not want to make. A group of upperclassmen nursing students said that fellow students should be more aware of the dangers and risks involved when traveling off-campus. It’s the idea that “that would never happen to me” that gets people into situations they could have avoided, they said.

Authorities have identified the suspect they believe was the gunman responsible for the Oct. 30 shooting inside a Newburgh apartment building that left two people dead and five others. wounded.

Donnell Simpkins, a freshman at Mount Saint Mary, was one of the five others who were wounded. He remains in stable condition at St. Luke’s Hospital.

Omani Free, an 18-year-old senior at Newburgh Free Academy, and 20-year-old Tabitha Cruz were the ones killed that night.

MSMC Security continues their efforts in keeping the students safe. They strongly encourage being mindful of where you are going, in the event that you do choose to venture off-campus.