Rhodes student present moments after guns were found on campus speaks out

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – After two guns were located at Rhodes campus on Sunday, students and parents are questioning some school weapons policies.

Memphis Police found two guns in a stairwell of the East Village dormitory.

Local 24 News spoke with one Rhodes student who was helping a friend move out of the same dorm where those guns were discovered.

“It doesn’t sound right,” said Rhodes senior Gary Whittaker. (I thought) maybe it was like a BB gun at first. Once they said they found it loaded I was then like, oh shoot, that shouldn’t be here.”

Authorities could not confirm to Local 24 News if the guns were loaded.

“Next time I went outside there were six, seven police cars outside,” said Whittaker. “I figured out who it was by then.”

A Rhodes College alert sent out to students said in part:

“Around 1:00 Sunday afternoon, a student reported they found a bag containing two firearms in a stairwell in East Village. A campus security officer secured the weapons and the Memphis police department was immediately notified. The investigation revealed the weapons belonged to a Rhodes student who was moving out of the residence hall. The police investigation is ongoing, and the weapons have been confiscated.”

Rhodes’ policy states that guns must be secured inside a handgun carry permit holder’s vehicle inside the trunk or glove box. The car must be parked in a permitted area.

Local 24 News looked at the weapons policies at other college campuses across the city. At the University of Memphis, employees are allowed weapons, but they have to be registered. The Christian Brothers University handbook says handguns are prohibited altogether on the campus. A shootout was reported on CBU’s campus just this past March.

“I heard from her, and she was sleeping in her dorm that day, but it’s very scary,” said CBU parent Glaucia Novoa.

Novoa’s daughter was a freshman when the shootout was reported.

“I’m always scared about someone having a gun,” said the mother. “Lock it in some specific place. It may cause more damage than helping the kids.”

Both parents and students believe guns on any campus, even secured in student car, is too risky.

“I shouldn’t have to worry about my safety if I’m just coming to get an education or if I’m staying on campus,” said CBU student Lennox Lee.

Rhodes stated that the student who owned the guns has been banned from campus. MPD says no charges have been filed.

CBU added this statement, “The Tennessee State Senate passed last July TCA 39-17-1313 making it legal in this state to store a firearm securely in a vehicle on university and college campuses,” said Chief John Lotrionte, Director of Campus Police & Safety. “While we could not take any legal action as law enforcement officers (i.e., arrests or misdemeanor citations) against the individual that does so, CBU can still take administrative action against the individual if deemed necessary.”

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