Multiple students notified Campus Safety of a shooting less than three blocks from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, but the incident wasn’t properly reported by Campus Safety for more than a month and students and staff were never alerted.
On Sept. 4 at around 9:20 p.m., two men in a white sedan fired several shots at a man in a black sedan near the intersection of West Albion and North Lakewood avenues, according to Chicago Police Department (CPD) News Affairs Officer Thomas Sweeney. No one was hurt and the offenders fled in their car before police arrived, Sweeney said.
Under a federal law known as the the Clery Act, Campus Safety is required to maintain a publicly accessible log of all crimes reported to their police agency. The log is intended to keep students and staff informed of crimes on university property and the surrounding neighborhood.
The Clery Act states the log should be updated within two business days, but the Sept. 4 incident wasn’t mentioned in the log until on or after Oct. 6 — nearly a month after the shooting and just days after The PHOENIX first reported the incident, a record of the log obtained by The PHOENIX from that date showed.
While the shooting wasn’t logged until much later, at least two Loyola students called Campus Safety minutes after the shooting.
Senior English major Maggie Nelson said she was on the street just 20 feet away when the shots rang out. Heading east to her apartment, she said she passed the shooters on the sidewalk as they moved west, before opening fire.
“These two guys got out of the car and were arguing, and then one of them pulled something out of his pocket,” Nelson said. “I crossed onto Lakewood, and that’s when another car pulled up into the little parking lot over there, and they started shooting at that car.”
Nelson said she ran north to her apartment on West North Shore Avenue and called Campus Safety.
According to phone records viewed by The Phoenix, Nelson called Campus Safety at 9:37 p.m. and received a call four minutes later from an officer who picked her up from her apartment. Nelson said the officer wrote down her account of the events and drove her back to the scene so she could speak to CPD, where she spoke with another Campus Safety officer who also wrote down her description of the shooting.
Senior Katie Sailor also reported the shooting to Campus Safety soon after it occurred, according to phone records viewed by The Phoenix. She said she was sitting in her apartment on West North Shore Avenue and called Campus Safety when she heard the gunfire.
“I was sitting in my kitchen with my roommates and our window was open, so we heard … between seven and nine shots,” Sailor said. “I knew it was a gun right away, so I immediately called Campus Safety.”
Sailor said the Campus Safety dispatcher told her the department had already been notified of the incident and Campus Safety was responding.
An initial report by The Phoenix stated that Campus Safety didn’t know about the shooting, but it was later determined that they had been notified of the incident but it hadn’t been entered into their logs.
In an email to The Phoenix, Campus Safety Sgt. Tim Cunningham said the shooting wasn’t entered into the log because of a “software change in an effort to allow for easier future Clery data collection.”
When asked for further information about the software update, such as the type of program being updated and if the change caused crimes to be omitted, Cunningham didn’t reply to multiple requests from The Phoenix.
Cunningham confirmed Campus Safety officers transported Nelson to the scene so she could speak with CPD officers investigating the case. However, while Nelson said the Campus Safety officers wrote down what she told them, Cunningham said in the email that they didn’t take formal statements from her and allowed CPD to handle the case.
“While our officers had to ask basic questions of the students, and may have even been told the entire story … this information was not a ‘statement’ and all the information would have been passed on to CPD,” the email read.
Despite having written down Nelson’s eyewitness account of the shooting, Campus Safety’s first entry of the event more than 30 days later was lacking key details. According to records of the police log from Oct. 12, the first entry into the log didn’t contain a location for the shooting. That information was added several days later, after Cunningham was contacted by The Phoenix.
In addition to the police log requirements, the Clery Act also requires Campus Safety to make notifications, sent by email, to all students and staff when a crime occurs on or immediately adjacent to university-owned property.
Cunningham wrote that Campus Safety didn’t deem it necessary to send a notification to all students and staff — despite a student’s close proximity to the shooters, and the fact that the offenders were never caught.
“In this instance, it was determined that a continuing threat was not present,” the email read. “All notifications required by the Clery Act are sent.”