Robert McBride (MSB ’07) cannot forget the man who crashed the party in Alumni Square 84 at about 1:15 a.m. Friday morning.
He remembers the long jacket and the ponytail. He remembers his friend Daniel Kenny (MSB ’07) asking the man to leave. And he remembers the cracking sounds as the man shattered Kenny’s nose and hand with several well-placed punches. Most of all, cBride remembers the gunshot – a single deafening blast which grazed his friend Peter Fisher’s (COL ’07) head, leaving him stunned and bleeding.
It was about 1 a.m. when the man stumbled, apparently drunk, into a small party consisting of about 20 Georgetown students.
“A couple of people said a sketchy guy [was there] but nobody knew who he was,” McBride said.
McBride said he decided to talk to him. The man told him that his name was “Mike” and he was a Georgetown sophomore living off campus. But there was something wrong, McBride said. The man was acting strange. He seemed evasive and McBride knew that most Georgetown sophomores live in university housing.
“We started to insinuate that it was time for him to leave,” McBride said.
Kenny became frustrated and asked him forcefully to go but the man did not take the demand lightly. He became agitated and angry and started to challenge students at the party to fight him. Then, as party attendee Nolan Harte (SFS ’07) put it, he “just sucker punched Danny [Kenny].”
Hart said that three students jumped on the man, pummeling him and pushing him away from Kenny. The fight spilled into the hallway. Bodies slammed up against Megan Hackard’s (COL ’06) apartment door across the hall.
“I heard tons of people banging against the door. People were yelling and I looked through the peephole and saw people throwing punches at this guy,” she said. “After a while the commotion stopped and I thought it might be over.”
The students backed off the man and as Hackard opened her door to get a better look at the situation, she saw him pull a gun out and hold it in front of himself. He pulled the trigger. Hackard saw a flash of light pulse from the barrel of the weapon and she heard a deafening explosion of noise. Her ears rang.
“It was so loud that I thought my eardrums would burst,” she said. “I didn’t really know what was happening which made it more frightening.”
The hallway was covered in blood from the fight and as the man ran away, Fisher touched his head. He found blood in his hair.
“I was standing up so I knew I was pretty much ok,” Fisher said. “I thought I had been shot with a pellet gun at first.”
Party attendees called DPS and 911. Officers with the etropolitan Police Department were the first on the scene. As they assessed the situation, GERMS arrived, taking Kenny and Fisher to the Georgetown University Medical Center.
Investigators considered the apartment to be a crime scene until the middle of Friday morning as forensics investigators arrived on the scene, locating a bullet casing and the single slug which grazed Fisher’s head. It was from a real pistol, not a pellet gun.
By early Friday morning Fisher and Kenny had been treated by doctors and released from the hospital. Fisher’s wound was shut with five staples, but he escaped relatively unscathed. Friends said that Kenny suffered broken fingers and a shattered nose. He will require extensive surgery on his hands, they said.
Amid revelations that university officials had been unaware of another shooting only a block off campus a week before, administrators attempted to calm frayed nerves by e-mailing the community a public safety alert and holding meetings with residents.
At an informational meeting in the Alumni Square courtyard Friday afternoon, senior administrators including Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs, and David Morrell, vice president for university safety, reassured frightened students.
“I want to let you know that last night’s events were very troubling to the community,” Olson said. “If it is of any benefit, there are many resources available to you including Residence Life and Chaplains in Residence.”
Olson said that the university was “working cooperatively with MPD to do the best possible to get more information about the assailant.”
Morrell said that plainclothes MPD officers would be patrolling the area with uniformed DPS officers and he urged students to contact DPS if they had any information about the incident. He described the suspect as a 6’2″ Latino male 20-25 years old with a ponytail and a long, dark jacket.
For his part, Fisher expressed relief Friday that he had not been seriously injured – or worse.
“I feel good right now actually,” he said. “Despite everything that has happened, people should know that I feel alright.”