MACON – Last night at approximately 10 p.m. a frightening and dangerous incident took place adjacent to campus in Mercer Village near the intersection of Linden and Coleman Avenues. As four students and a recent graduate walked through the area, an individual who had been sitting on a bench moved in their direction and fired six gun shots. Thankfully, none of the students or the recent graduate was hit. The individual who fired the shots immediately ran in the direction away from campus and into the Huguenin Heights neighborhood. Police have a description of the individual and are actively seeking to identify and apprehend him.
Because my first and most important obligation is to maintain a safe campus and surrounding environment for members of the community, I am taking the following steps to prevent this type of incident from taking place again. First, for the foreseeable future, and certainly until we understand more about the incident last night, you will see additional security visibly present during evening hours in the Mercer Village area. Second, I am posting a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual who fired the shots last night. Third, I am directing an external review of the campus alert system, which took too long to advise the campus community of the incident.
Counseling services are available to students through the Dean of Student Life. Additionally, I am available for the remainder of this week to any student or group of students who wishes to meet with me about this incident. As additional information becomes available, I will share that information with the campus community.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to remind students, faculty and staff to notify Mercer Police immediately if you see suspicious persons on or around campus. Program Mercer Police's phone number – (478) 301-HELP (4357) – into your cell phone. Also, Mercer Police is available 24/7 to provide escorts.