Everyone expected this past weekend to start with a bang, but we had a different kind of commotion in mind. On Friday night during Midnight Madness festivities, a student allegedly stole a loaded gun from a U.S. Park Police officer’s purse and fired it at a toilet inside a restroom in McDonough Gymnasium. The student then went to the third floor of Village C West’s X Wing with the weapon; he was subsequently arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department and charged with theft, criminal possession of a weapon without a license and destruction of property. This incident raises a number of concerns. First, from what we can glean from an MPD report, the student’s behavior was reprehensible. The most egregious of his charges – first-degree theft – can carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine in the District. The student ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for his unacceptable behavior, not to mention his endangerment of the attendees of Midnight Madness and residents of Village C West. Others were complicit in Friday’s events, however. Sherice Clanton, the Park Police officer, reportedly not only brought a loaded weapon into a jam-packed event on a college campus but left the firearm unattended in her purse. As a police officer, she had every right to carry a gun at her side – but separating herself from her weapon was unprofessional and dangerous. Her irresponsibility by no means justifies the student’s theft of the gun, but she should be investigated nevertheless. We applaud the Department of Public Safety, MPD and university officials for their swift responses to what could have been a deadly incident. Within 40 minutes of the gunshot in the McDonough restroom, officers from DPS and MPD had apprehended the student in Village C West. University officials and DPS kept attendees of Midnight Madness inside the gymnasium to ensure their safety, and did not allow anyone to leave until after the student had been detained. If the student had acted more violently, that move could have saved lives. Despite officials’ rather impressive handling of the incident, this frightening situation does reveal some shortcomings in the university’s emergency management framework. DPS sent out a Public Safety Alert within four hours of the incident to inform the university community, and such a time frame is reasonable given the circumstances. University officials should have used another mechanism of communication to update the student body more quickly, however. An e-mail is not necessarily the most effective medium to reach a college-aged student body on a weekend night. The emergency text messaging system that the university has in place might have been used more effectively. The nature of Midnight Madness may seem harmless, but the inebriation of many students when they arrive on the scene means irresponsible decisions are more likely. For general security concerns, checks at the entrances of events like Midnight Madness must be tighter in the future. oreover, the student’s apparent ease in carrying a loaded firearm into Village C West opens up questions about the state of residence hall safety. While the university may not want to install security checks in on-campus residences, how can it increase security to prevent such breaches in the future? Did DPS warn directors of the residence halls and on-duty guards to be on the alert for an armed student after the initial incident in the gymnasium? We hope that the student is prosecuted and given fair judgment by both the District of Columbia and the university. A student who steals a loaded gun from a police officer should not be welcomed at Georgetown. Moreover, the Park Police ought to investigate Clanton’s behavior, which has yet to be explained. We thank the university, DPS and MPD for handling last Friday’s situation speedily and appropriately. That said, this incident, in addition to the recent armed robbery at Così in the Leavey Center, likely demand an even greater commitment from the university. As we wait for our questions to be answered, we remain less than confident in on-campus student safety. _Correction:_ This article originally stated that DPS issued a Public Safety Alert within three hours of the incident. It did so within four hours of the incident. *To send a letter to the editor on a recent campus issue or Hoya story or a viewpoint on any topic, contact [opinionthehoya.com](opinionthehoya.com). Letters should not exceed 300 words, and viewpoints should be between 600 to 800 words.*

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