Cory William Berlekamp
On Sunday, Feb. 11, Jeffery L. Gary, 56, was found dead in his Findlay house after being shot twice. The incident happened on Fox Street just a half a mile from University of Findlay’s campus.
This is the second fatal shooting within a mile of the University. On Nov. 27 Brian A. McQuistion, 42, was found with a gunshot wound to the head in his apartment on east Foulke Avenue. According to UF Chief of Police Bill Spraw and Captain of Safety and Security Steve Baum these shootings were unrelated to campus and the students should not worry.
“We don’t think it’s a thing that puts the University in danger,” said Baum. “We think they were isolated incidents. It was for a specific reason and once they did their thing, they were gone.”
Both Spraw and Baum are retired police officers. Baum was a Carey police officer for eight years and Spraw retired as police chief of the Findlay Police Department before joining the University of Findlay’s security team. According to Spraw, crime happens even in Findlay.
“Findlay is kind of a unique community, it has different pockets and areas that have issues,” said Spraw. “It could be anything, usually the first thing that pops in to your head is that it was drugs, but it could have just been a fight.”
Students were alerted of the incident on the day it occurred by a campus notification sent out via email by David Emsweller.
“It didn’t represent any immediate threat to campus but my belief on it is an email needs to go out so that people are aware that we are aware something happened close to campus,” said Emsweller. “Also at that point, our police and security on campus are paying a little more attention to what is going on around us.”
According to Emsweller, campus notifications have certain guidelines depending on how close an incident happens near the University. If the threat becomes imminent, Emsweller says that is when he will use the text messaging system to alert students.
“For us to do that, we have to be notified by the Findlay police that this is happening because absent that notification, we wouldn’t know anything,” said Emsweller. “So our people try and stay on in contact with Findlay PD so if something does happen, we can try to notify campus as quickly as possible.”
Michaela Fasching, a foreign exchange student from Austria who is studying at the University for a semester, was caught off guard by the shooting.
“I thought it was crazy that it happened in Findlay because it seems like a really quiet area and a nice neighborhood,” said Fasching. “I thought ‘okay, I should be more aware when I go out.’”
According to Fasching, the gun laws are different in Austria and they do not have a lot of shootings. But on campus she still feels that everything is okay.
“I see security going around all of the time,” said Fasching. “I have the feeling that if something would happen, there are people around to help so on campus, I definitely feel safe.”