Halloweekend: Fun and… Pistol Whipping?

Halloweekend is a weekend full of fun, drinks, candy, and apparently pistol whipping.

According to a Safety Alert sent out by CMUPD, Chief Lauth explained that early October 29th at 12:39 am, two students and two alumni were walking down Morewood Ave when “an individual exited a car and started a verbal argument with one of the CMU alumni.” The situation escalated until the individual withdrew a handgun, firing a warning shot into the air before “using the handgun as a blunt object to strike the alumnus in the face.” Following this, the suspect fled.

CMUPD were among the first at the scene and alongside the paramedics who treated minor injuries. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. However, with the events of the incident being quite a ways off campus — block 300 of Morewood Ave — the situation is being handled by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

After a late night out, how do students stay safe on and around campus?

Officer Brandon Riddle emphasized the importance of safety when traveling around campus late at night, especially if intoxicated at all. In this situation, “always travel with a buddy and be aware of your surroundings," he said. "See if anyone’s following you.”

Self-awareness is key, Officer Riddle said. When put in tough situations, such as the pistol-whipping event during Halloweekend, it's important to “try to de-escalate” before the situation spirals out of control. If the individual is asking for your wallet or any monetary goods, Officer Riddle advised handing them over because “your property is not worth your life.”

Several resources are offered on campus to help with safety, including the Rave Guardian app, which Officer Riddle encouraged all students to download. Not only does it notify the user of any Safety Alerts, it is also a direct connection to CMUPD. With the press of the button, students can be on the phone with campus police. Additionally, the app allows the user to text the police in case they are in danger and are unable to call or talk.

Rape Aggression Defense classes are also taught on campus by Detective Sarah Adams, who teaches groups of 5 to 15 women lessons in self defense.

“The biggest thing we want to stress to students is you can call us for any reason,” Officer Riddle said, if you yourself are in danger or you notice something suspicious that could be imperiling someone else. Make the call and alert CMUPD, which has a special investigations unit working alongside the FBI to assess individuals and ensure they are not a threat to anyone.

Officer Riddle reassured The Tartan that “you can always call campus police,” regardless of where you are calling from. “Even if you are off campus, we will still answer your call.”