Alleged gunmen who chased two CSUN students through the University Park Apartments property on March 11 have been identified and later arrested, but the deputy city attorney will not prosecute.
“The case did not merit criminal prosecution (because) all suspects denied having a gun or using a gun during the incident,” said Anne Glavin, CSUN chief of police. “The suspects never admitted the intent to cause harm to the person they wanted to talk to, saying only that they intended to talk with him.”
“We cannot unequivocally say that there was a gun,” Glavin said. “Had we been able to find a weapon, then the prosecution would have been different.”
Terry Piper, vice president of student affairs, said, “The victim who thought she saw a man with a gun was mistaken.”
“She saw a police officer, and that is who (had his gun drawn) and pointed at her as she reached the bottom of the stairwell,” Piper said. “The police officer was in the stairwell looking for the gunman.”
Marla Schevker, resident advisor for UPA 13, said, “It was about 11:15 p.m. when two residents came to my dorm room and notified me that two guys had jumped on their patio and said they were being chased by two guys with a gun.”
Schevker said she went back to the dorm room with the residents, and after talking to the victims and assessing if there was a “potentially dangerous situation,” she called the CSUNPD dispatch at about 11:18 p.m. to report what was happening.
While on the phone, Schevker said a female came in looking “extremely frightened” and telling them she saw men with a gun come into the building.
“No one knew who she was, and she was crying hysterically and hyperventilating, and repeating herself, ‘Oh my god, they have a gun. They put it in my face,'” Schevker said.
Schevker said they went into the room and shut the door. This was at approximately 11:20 p.m.
“About 30 seconds after the door was closed, someone started banging on it and a male voice shouted, ‘Open the fucking door. We know you’re in there,'” Schevker said.
Schevker said she instructed all the students to into the bedroom and get on the floor. “I wanted to be prepared if anyone started shooting,” she said.
Several other witnesses who were in the dorm room supported Schevker’s account. Schevker and the other witnesses said they “sheltered-in-place” for approximately 45 minutes while they waited for police.
“The (frightened woman) never stopped crying,” Schevker said. “I even contacted the police dispatch again while they waited because her hyperventilating was getting worse. I called and asked if there was anything that could be done medically for the girl because she was hyperventilating so badly and I did not know what to do.”
The six witnesses were separately informed that Piper said the frightened woman encountered a police officer in the stairwell, not the alleged gunmen. But they maintain she saw gunmen.
“That’s weird that (Piper) said that, because the police weren’t in the building yet as we had just called them,” Schevker said. “I think (the frightened woman) knows the difference between a police officer and gunmen.”
Witnesses in the dorm room said the person banging on the door and shouting obscenities was definitely not a police officer.
A copy of the police report indicates the first officer was dispatched to the scene at 11:27 p.m. but the woman estimated that she saw the gunmen at 11:20 p.m. The frightened woman’s statement in the police report indicates it was the suspects she encountered in the stairwell.
The report reads, “(The woman) was on the first floor with two other male students when a male subject?approached her and pointed a gun in her face.”
“(The frightened woman) stated she can’t describe the suspect and only described the barrel end of the gun as the ‘circle’?she then ‘blacked-out,'” the report shows.
Allyson Bourdet, 18, a nursing major, said, “A police officer would have tried to help her if she ‘blacked-out’ and tried to calm her down immediately and not just let her run away.”
Glavin said that they do not discuss what the police officers did or did not do.
“That is a HIPAA issue,” she said. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It is a federal law that addresses the use and disclosure of a person’s protected health information by a variety of organizations.
When asked about the possibility of the people “banging” on the door were friends, Schevker said, “People do not pound on the door and yell, ‘Open the fucking door.’ Normally, people ring the doorbell.”
Schevker was asked how she knows for sure it was 11:15 p.m. when it all began. She said, “I had just come back from my friend’s apartment and made some soup. After I heated the soup, I looked at the microwave and it was 11:15 p.m. And that is when I got a knock on the door.”
“Fear affects perception,” Glavin said. “We believe this woman’s perception was affected by fear and that’s not unusual.”
“It is not unusual in these situations, there is a (warped) time perception (from victims and witnesses), especially when people are in fear or hear someone has a gun,” Glavin said. “My detectives had to sort out fact and fiction.”
The police report shows, “While attempting to set up a perimeter, dispatch advised that the suspects were now in the lobby of UPA 13.”
“We had a billion calls that night. This is the initial report, as I’ve said, the investigation reveals new details,” Glavin said.
Some witnesses and residents compliment the CSUN PD on a job well done.
“Given the circumstances they did not know what they were going into, I really feel they handled the situation amazingly,” Bourdet said.