U of M officials: Campus shooting was rare occurrenceby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — University of Minnesota officials said Tuesday they were shocked by a random shooting that left a 19-year-old student injured the night before, saying such incidents remain rare on the Twin Cities campus.
The student was walking on a sidewalk outside of the Centennial Hall dorm on the East Bank Minneapolis campus just after 11 p.m. Monday when he was shot by one of two males who approached him from behind, said Chuck Miner, deputy chief of the University of Minnesota Police Department.
Miner said it appears the student did nothing to provoke the suspects, who did not attempt to rob him. The student was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and is expected to survive, Miner said.
The shooting happened just after two robberies of three other University of Minnesota students in the area, and police believe all three incidents are related.
Jerry Rinehart, the university's vice provost for student affairs, said he's spoken with the mother of the male student who is still recovering from the attack and is in stable condition at HCMC.
"They're understandably outraged that something like this could happen on a campus, as we are," Rinehart said. "To have something happen in the middle of our campus like this is truly astounding and outrageous, and we want to make sure we do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Rinehart said only one robbery has occurred on campus in the past five years. University officials have done several things to enhance safety in recent years, including adding more police officers and installing more security cameras.
Police are looking at images from campus security cameras to see if the suspects appear. Witness descriptions of the suspect are on the campus police department's Web site.
The first robbery happened at about 10:50 p.m. near Huron Boulevard just off campus, police said. Two male suspects took valuables from a female student, who reported seeing them drive off in a sporty navy-colored sedan. Less than 20 minutes later, two other female students were approached outside Moos Tower by two male suspects who took their backpacks and cell phones. The shooting occurred just a few minutes later less than a block away, police said.
In general, crime on campus has declined for the past several years, Miner said.
"Two in one night is shocking, but it's very unusual and we hope a very isolated incident," he said.
University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks issued a statement Tuesday saying university officials take public safety seriously.
"We're fortunate to have a relatively low crime rate, especially for an urban campus, but statistics are rarely comforting when members of our community are the victims of crime," he said.
A $1,000 reward is being offered for anyone with information that leads to an arrest in the shooting.
(MPR reporter Tim Nelson contributed to this report.)