Sunday, March 19, The Williamsburg Police Department responded to a shooting on the 700 block of Scotland Street at approximately 1:54 a.m. According to the Williamsburg Police Department’s press release, the officers found three people wounded on the scene. Although the shooting occurred in close proximity to the College of William and Mary campus, no students were injured.
“Upon arrival, officers found three people who had been shot, a 25-year-old male, and two 24- year-old males. Williamsburg Fire units responded and transported the victims to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News. All three victims are expected to survive,” the Williamsburg Police Department said in the press release.
The Williamsburg Police Department arrested 21-year-old Alvin Lapenze Jackson Jr. in York County at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Sunday in connection with the shooting. However, the investigation remains ongoing.
“Jackson was charged with nine felonies that include two counts of aggravated malicious wounding; one count of malicious wounding; three counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony; and three counts of shooting of a firearm in a public place causing injury,” a City of Williamsburg news release responding to the arrest reads.
The College’s emergency TribeAlert system sent three notifications to students with updates on the incident. The original TribeAlert notification was sent Sunday at 3:34 a.m., informing students of the initial shooting. The second alert came at 7:35 a.m., updating the community that no students were injured, the area was clear and the Williamsburg Police Department investigation was still ongoing. The final TribeAlert notification at 10:58 a.m. contained the Williamsburg Police Department press release.
Sunday at 9:52 p.m., Co-Chairs of the College’s Emergency Management Team Ginger Ambler ’88, Ph.D. ’06 and Deborah Cheesebro, WMPD Chief of Police and AVP for Public Safety, sent an email to the College community. The Emergency Management Team Co-Chairs informed students of the College’s decision to increase WMPD patrolling of the campus perimeter near the area of the shooting for the remainder of the school year.
“Though this terrible incident occurred off campus, it is distressing to the entire William & Mary community given its proximity to our campus, to a residence hall and to establishments especially popular among students,” Ambler and Cheesebro wrote in the email. “Out of an abundance of caution William & Mary Police have established increased patrols on the campus perimeter in the vicinity of Scotland Street and Richmond Road. These increased deterrence measures will continue on weekends through the end of the school year to ensure safety and to reassure students, families and other W&M community members.”
Cheesebro wrote in an email to The Flat Hat that ensuring campus and community public safety was the main factor contributing to the decision to increase patrolling.
“The safety of our campus and community members is the number one priority of every officer in the William & Mary Police Department. We understand how concerning events like the incident that occurred Sunday morning can be, and we want to do all we can to ensure that the members of this community not only are safe but also feel safe when they are on campus,” Cheesebro said.
This shooting is the second to occur on the 700 block of Scotland Street this semester. Jan. 25, a shooting occurred at approximately 12:47 a.m. The Williamsburg Police Department immediately identified and apprehended Michael Trenton Rusk, a 24-year-old male resident of James City County, as the shooter. The wounded victim was not a student of the College.
Miguel Abradu-Otoo ’23 lives close to the 700 block of Scotland Street and spoke on his concerns given the recent violence in the area.
“The recent violence has me worried. Waking up to flashing lights outside your window, and seeing the crime scene outside your home changes the way I look at the safety of the people on campus,” Abradu-Otoo wrote to The Flat Hat.
Abradu-Otoo also commented on the College’s decision to increase police patrolling in the area.
“I applaud the school for implementing actions to make the surrounding area safer, but I hope it doesn’t cause any negative effect on the schools culture,” Abradu-Otoo wrote. “The police will do a great job at keeping crime down; however, I fear that we might see an uptick in unwarranted student conduct charges just because that’s where most of the school’s nightlife is. I can’t say for sure if the negative repercussions come up, but I hope this change has positive effects.”
Cheesebro noted that students should stay aware of their surroundings and that WMPD officers are always available by phone call.
“Awareness of one’s surroundings is always important regarding personal safety. Our officers are on patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week and our officers are never more than a phone call away. Still, the protection they provide is only enhanced by each individual’s awareness. We encourage any member of this community to call WMPD — via 911 in an emergency or, in a non-emergency, directly through dispatch at 221-4596 — if they are on or near campus and feel unsafe or have a concern. And, as we mentioned in our message to the campus community Sunday night, we also encourage students to utilize the following other resources available to them on campus,” Cheesebro wrote.
The resources mentioned in the email include the Rave Guardian App, William and Mary Campus Escort, Crisis Manager App and the William and Mary Counseling Center.