At 11:55 a.m. on Friday, students and faculty of Springfield College were sent an email regarding an incident from early Friday morning.
“Dear Campus Community, I want to make you aware of an incident that happened last night on Alden Street. At approximately 12:45 a.m., a Springfield College student was grazed in the upper arm by what the student believed to be projectiles from an airsoft gun.
“The student was walking East on Alden Street near the Blake Track when individuals in what appeared to be a white or light-colored SUV traveling at a high rate of speed, fired the airsoft projectiles towards the student. The student was uninjured. A friend of the student reported the incident to our Public Safety department some time after the incident occurred.”
The student was junior business major Bono Sidharta, who was coming back from the Springfield College Living Commons by himself after watching a movie.
“I was in between the tennis courts and track,” said Sidharta. “One car goes by and I hear another car drive by but faster. And then all I hear is shots, and I’m like ‘Oh, what’s that?’ And I feel pellets tapping on my shoulder, and I see the car drive by, and I see a person sticking their head out of the back window, so then I was like, ‘Oh, it’s them that shot me.’”
Sidharta was somewhat unaffected, as he never quite felt to be in danger.
“I was just confused,” said Sidharta. “I knew it wasn’t like an actual gun — from the sound I knew it was an airsoft gun, and I was just like ‘Okay.’”
As the previously referenced email explained, Sidharta was not the person to report the incident.
“All I see is someone with something in their hands, looking out the window, looking backwards towards me while driving by, so I was just confused, and then I just kind of walked back home,” said Sidharta.
The time of the year this incident occurred may have some people worried. There have always been rumors that Halloween Weekend is the same weekend in which there is gang initiation, and those rumors repeatedly surfaced in the City of Springfield. However, authorities believe there is no reason to be concerned after this event.
The Operations Lieutenant of the Springfield College Police Department, Dan Cotter, stated, “There is no indication that this was anything other than a random incident of disorderly individuals acting with extreme disregard for the safety of our community members.”
In terms of safety protocols for students, he said, “There is no reason to believe that this weekend is any less safe than any other weekend. The Department always wants to stress several safety tips: Travel in groups and look after the members in your group. Always let friends know what your plans are for the evening. Have a destination in mind and associate with a trusted group.”
Regarding the rumors of gang initiation within the City of Springfield, Cotter stated, “Unfortunately, this rumor seems to make its way around Campus without any factual basis. The Department of Public Safety is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and holds the safety of our community and its members to the highest standard. We cannot stress enough to report any suspicious behavior to our Department so it may be investigated immediately.”
The incident that occurred to Sidharta was certainly odd, but authorities are repeating that this was completely random and should be nothing to worry about. Lastly, Cotter emphasized, “The Department of Public Safety wishes everyone a happy and safe Halloween weekend, and we are here if anyone wants to drop off any leftover candy!”
Photo Courtesy Irene Rotondo