CAMARILLO, Calif. - A terrifying attack took place on the campus of California State University Channel Islands Wednesday afternoon that has students and parents still on edge.
As classes resume a day after a violent attack, the campus at Cal State Channel Islands seemed quiet.
“I know there is talk of people not wanting to come to school or feeling unsafe,” said Matt Martinez.
Martinez is a student at Cal State Channel Islands who works inside the Bell Tower building where the attack occurred.
According to police the attacker is described as a 5-feet 3-inches tall adult woman in her 20’s. Police got the call around 11 a.m. Wednesday morning about someone armed with a gun.
“The firearm was never discharged, it was simply used in a threatening manner,” said CSUCI Chief of Police Michael Morris.
The victim went to the hospital and was treated for minor injuries.
“The victim says she did not know who the suspect was and does not know why she was attacked,” said Morris.
Students on campus say they didn't get a notification of the attack until an hour after it happened.
“We got the alert on the intercom saying that there was someone who had been assaulted and that person has a handgun on them,” said Martinez. “And then we were told that the classes were canceled and our manager had us leave the building.”
The actions taken sparked concerns on social media wondering why the campus didn’t go into lockdown.
“We did not evacuate the campus or give instructions for individuals to shelter in place,” said Morris. “Our tactic was to provide information to the campus community which would give individuals an opportunity to make an informed decision so they can assess the situation and decide what is the best decision where they are.”
Martinez feels it should have been handled differently.
“I defiantly do think there is room for improvement in terms of what we can do better,” said Martinez. “There was a large amount of time between the incident and when we were notified. And there should have been a police presence when the students were leaving.”
Even though police feel there is no longer a threat, extra officers were on patrol Thursday.
“We would like our community to know that this is a very safe campus and we have a very historically low crime rate and we intend to keep it that way,” said Morris.
On Thursday Cal State University Channel Islands President Erika Beck released a statement saying:
“Dear Campus Community:
As you are aware, yesterday one of our students was physically assaulted in a bathroom located on the second floor of one of our academic buildings. I am incredibly grateful that the student is safe and receiving medical care.
Any act of violence on campus is extremely troubling and can be traumatizing not only for the victim, but for our entire campus community. As we process this incident, I encourage all of us to come together and support one another.
Campus safety is always my highest priority and I want to express my sincerest appreciation for the University Police and that of our faculty, staff and students for their professionalism and expertise in responding to this incident. Thanks to their hard work, no additional injuries occurred, the campus has been deemed safe and classes will resume today, Thursday, Nov. 1.
It will take time for the campus community to process the events that transpired yesterday, and I encourage you to support one another throughout this time and encourage friends and colleagues to seek support. Our Counseling and Psychological Services staff are on campus and available for the campus community.
I have asked Police Chief Morris to follow up today with additional information pertaining to the incident. Although I am deeply saddened that this incident occurred, I am grateful to be a part of a campus community that is always there to care for one another during times of hardship.
Erika D. Beck, Ph.D.President