Kent State lockdown suspect is criminology student (gallery)

By Jeremy Nobile | Staff Writer Published:

Update: 1:07 p.m. - Quavaugntay Tyler's arraignment has been postponed, with no word yet on when it will be rescheduled, according to R-C crime reporter Dave O'Brien.

A man who shot himself in the hand during an argument with two women on Kent State University's main campus Wednesday remains in the Portage County jail until his arraignment this afternoon.

Quavaugntay L. Tyler, 24, has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth-degree felony.

However, investigation into the incident, which locked down the Kent campus four several hours Wednesday night, is ongoing, said KSU Police Chief John Peach on Thursday. More charges are likely.

Tyler, originally of Cleveland, resides at Lake Street Apartments in Kent and is a freshman majoring in criminology and justice studies at KSU.

He was found and arrested seeking treatment at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, roughly three hours after he discharged his 9 mm Ruger pistol in a parking lot off Summit Street between Bowman and Satterfield Halls.

Only one shot was fired, and no one besides Tyler was injured. Peach said investigators are still determining the suspect's motives for brandishing the weapon and whether the gun's firing was truly accidental.

"At the time, there were witnesses telling us that there was an individual who appeared to be responding to a domestic dispute involving at least two females and during the end of that argument, he produced a handgun in which a round was discharged," Peach said during a press conference at KSU's Schwartz Center Thursday,

Peach said Tyler told police he was carrying the gun because he was once a victim of an armed robbery.

Tyler has been on probation since February after being convicted of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony, for his role in a scheme to defraud a Walmart of $14,900 through fake/duplicated receipts.

'Everyone ... was a little bit panicked.'

Alerts informing students and faculty of a lockdown were first sent out at 9:48 p.m. Wednesday via texted FlashAlerts in which everyone was directed to "shelter in place." The alerts, which included mass emails, also coincided with announcements through building PA systems and emergency sirens sounded by KSU police.

Nicole Jelinek, a freshman broadcast journalism major, was studying with friends on the fourth floor of the KSU Library when the lockdown was announced over the loudspeakers.

She wanted to leave, but was kept inside until the lockdown was lifted around 10:30 p.m.

"They said there was a gunshot reported on campus and we were supposed to stay where we were and no one was to enter or exit the building," she recalled.

Many students were studying on the floor at the time. Jelinek said everyone looked at each other in apparent disbelief.

"Everyone was a little bit confused," she said, "and a little bit panicked, too."

More than a dozen alerts were sent out in the three-hour period between when the shot was fired to when Tyler was arrested just before midnight. Many others learned what was happening through social media posts on Facebook and Twitter.

Jelinek said she was frightened, and while she feels the university handled the situation well, she still "felt like I wanted more information faster."

"You have that sudden fear and you think about all the stuff that has happened with shootings in the past, and this is like, on your campus," she said. "This has never happened before, so you just don't know how to act."

Police response

Tyler is in "some kind of relationship" with the women he was arguing with, both of whom are KSU students, Peach said. He said the altercation was "definitely" a domestic dispute. The women fled the scene after the gun went off, and one eventually called police to report the event.

Police have declined to release the identity of those women.

Tyler reportedly put the bloody weapon in a backpack with some ammunition, took it to a female friend in the Johnson Hall dorm and directed her to hide it. The gun was discovered there after Tyler told police where to find it.

Police have not released that person's identity. She has not been charged.

Officers from 10 different departments and Metro SWAT began scouring campus and clearing buildings beginning with the Business and Administration Building, Peach said, because witnesses claimed to see Tyler go in there.

Other information came in during the searches from other witnesses suggesting Tyler "was probably off campus." Police informed area hospitals they were looking for a male suspect with a gunshot wound to his hand, and Robinson Memorial officials eventually reported admitting a patient matching the description.

Around 10:25 p.m., shelter advisories were lifted for everywhere but the Business building and Satterfield and Bowman halls, where individuals were still directed to remain in place. By 11:45 p.m., the last buildings were cleared by police and all shelter advisories were lifted.

Tyler was arrested at 11:55 p.m. at the hospital following treatment.

Peach credited police active-shooter training and ALICE training for students and faculty -- many of whom barricaded themselves inside classrooms -- for creating a relatively calm atmosphere that also promoted effective police searches.

"The incident (Wednesday) night was truly humbling and gratifying because all the training that we've been doing among officers in this department, and training of students and faculty, all came together almost in a seamless way to the point that it seemed staged," Peach said. "That's how well it really worked."

"We had a picture perfect execution of a crisis plan as could possibly be," KSU President Lester Lefton said Thursday.

"We have a stellar record of safety on campus," he added. "We will ensure that is the case in the future."

Tyler will be arraigned today at 1:15 p.m. at Portage County Municipal Court in Ravenna.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or jnobile@recordpub.com

Facebook: Jeremy Nobile, Record-Courier

Twitter: @jnobile_RPC

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  • Glad to see that the Crisis Response plan and training¬†went so well when needed. Good planning and practice¬†leads to that, just like athletic training leads to good performance. KSU should be proud, and the community should be comforted.