What caused gunmen to initially chase students at the CSUN dorms during March remains in question because there are conflicting details of the incident, two of which are given by the CSUN Police.
Campus officials and Christina Villalobos, assistant to the chief of police, said that it was a disagreement between two groups of people that resulted in the display of a “firearm” and ended in “housing.”
Another reason was given by one of the victim’s former roommates, identified as “Jackson.” He said after his roommate broke it off with a young woman, the woman became upset and “called her brother. (He and others) were the people that were chasing him.”
Terry Piper, vice president of student affairs, said, “What actually occurred is not clear. There are different accounts of what transpired between the (suspects and victims.)”
Ken Swisher, associate vice president of student affairs, became the designated spokesperson for the incident. Swisher was interviewed for an update, and he confirmed Jackson’s account of the disgruntled girlfriend as the cause of the incident in question.
“My understanding is it was an isolated incident between specific individuals (and) the suspect(s) are not CSUN student(s),” Swisher said.
The Daily Crime Log shows the incident started earlier in the evening “after a dispute between two students in a study session. A couple of students were threatened by a man brandishing a firearm in housing.”
A March 12 police report contradicts the aforementioned Daily Crime Log account. It shows that both victims said they were talking to some residents in front of UPA 4 when a “1980s Honda or Toyota type car, four-door, either blue or black in color,” drove up near them. There was no mention of a study group in the report.
The report shows that the victims were “talking to girls in front of UPA 4,” and that they were “not in a study group.”
Villalobos and Swisher were contacted because two reasons contradict each other.
Villalobos said the Department of Public Safety stands by its report.
Villalobos later said all inquires regarding the incident had to be sent to Swisher. But Swisher later said the spokesperson for the incident was Piper.
Another account came from one of the victims, who said the gunmen approached them as they were heading toward UPA building 4.
“We were just walking to (the other victim’s) dorm room when the car pulled up and a male in the car (said) to us, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you, (N-word),'” the interviewed victims said. “We didn’t know them. I told my friend to get ready to run and I said ‘no’ to them, and we kept walking.”
“Then the driver got out of the car and I saw him reach into his waist belt for an object and we took off running because we weren’t going to wait and find out what it was,” he said.
Seeing the police report and the Daily Crime Log, the victim in question said both were inaccurate.
“We never said that (we were talking to girls),” one of the victims said. “We were just walking. We never said we were in a study group either.”
Piper confirmed that two guys in the car drove up. This is not disputed. Piper said he was not sure exactly how many suspects there were.
“This was not a random act,” Piper said. “No one wants to tell you something that will implicate themselves.”
Piper declined to elaborate, but eluded that something transpired before the guys in the car drove up.
“I am not going to tell you what it is,” Piper said.
Charges have been filed with the district attorney, but he did not know what they were, he said.
Alex Resendez, an 18-year-old freshman, and Marla Schevker, resident advisor for UPA 13, each asked the victims about what happened to cause the gunmen to chase them that night and they gave the same account as the victims, which was that they were chased by gunmen in a car.
Resendez spoke with the victims on his patio and decided to let them in.
“They were sweating and panting and told me they were chased from building 4 by gunmen in a car, and then they asked me to let them in,” Resendez said.
The victim said he and the other victim were “terrified” when they jumped onto the patio and “sat down and tapped” quietly on the sliding glass doors so as not to let the “guys chasing us know where we were hiding and to get the occupants attention inside the dorm so we could (call police for) help.”
Schevker said it was about 11:15 p.m. when “two residents came to my dorm room and notified me.”
“After talking to the students for a couple of minutes and assessing there was a potentially dangerous situation, I called the CSUN (Department of Public Safety) dispatch immediately to report what was happening,” said Schecker.
While information was being given to police, a female entered the dorm “extremely frightened” and said, “she was confronted by guys with a gun as she was entering the building (from a stairwell),” she said. The door to the dorms was shut after she entered.
“No one knew who she was, and she was crying hysterically and hyperventilating, and said, ‘Oh my god, they have a gun. They put it in my face,'” she said.
Schevker said someone started banging on the door.
The victim said there were other inconsistencies in the police report as well.
The narrative of the incident, prepared by Sgt. Frank Gudani, shows “Dispatch advised that the victims were chased northbound through UPA 14, (exited the north doors), and entered the south doors of UPA 13.”
Gudani reported Schevker’s statement in the narrative which indicates that after a distraught woman ran into the room, “she closed the door (and) heard pounding on the door. She said it was a male yelling, ‘I know you are in there. Let us in.'”
The victim who was shown the report said they never ran through any buildings.
UPA students said they were upset they were allowed to wander around outside while the CSUN Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department secured the area.
Tim Trevan, director of student housing and conference services, said when he was notified about what was occurring, all the RAs where notified to seek “shelter in place” and tell anyone they saw along the way to do the same.
“I was on my balcony, and I saw students standing around when police officers were telling them to ‘shelter in place,'” Trevan said.
Piper was told that Swisher confirmed the account that was given to the Sundial and that he clarified that the suspects ran into the lobby of UPA 13, where they were apprehended.
“He got it wrong,” Piper said. “The suspects were never in the lobby.
Furthermore, “the police investigation has found they cannot find a witness who saw a gun. The victim who thought she saw a man with a gun (in a stairwell) was mistaken. She saw a police officer.”
When Baurdet, the victim and other witnesses learned that Piper was claiming that the distraught woman said she saw a police officer in the stairwell, they maintained that the woman was telling the truth when she said she saw a gun.
“That’s weird,” said Schevker. “We had just being reporting the incident to police when the distraught girl arrived in the room, and that was at about 11:20 p.m. The police did not have the full story yet. They weren’t here yet.”
Allyson Baurdet, freshman nursing major, said “(the distraught woman) came in the room hysterical, crying and hyperventilating and consistently saying, ‘Oh my god he has a gun and that he had pointed it to her face.'”
The victim also disputes it was a police officer he said, “when she was in the room, she said the guy who pointed a gun at her was wearing a wife beater shirt,” which is a sleeveless tank top.
Piper countered to that said, and that is who was banging on the door.
As far as someone banging on the door, Piper also claims it was a police officer.
Schevker and the victim both said police bang on doors a
nd yell, “Open the fucking door?” Schevker said that in her experience, visitors to that dorm “use the doorbell” as opposed to knocking.
“Police bang on the door and yell obscenities. I don’t think so.”
Piper responded, “It could have been anyone. It could have been their friends.”
Also, the police report confirms Schevker and the distraught woman’s account because the police report says tey were first dispatched to the scene at 11:27 p.m., 12 minutes after Schevker was first notified there was a problem.”
Baurdet said, “The circumstance, (the police) did not know what they were going into. I really feel they handled this situation amazingly.”
The DA is still reviewing the charges and has yet to be determined if or what will be filed.
Background information done by Hilda Yeghishian and Danielle Directo.