Gunshots at Northgate Drive case closed

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Photo by Peter Burleigh

Irving and University of Dallas police responded to reports of three rounds of gunshots at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1. The shots, which were fired from the driver’s window of an SUV, were fired in the proximity of a UD student on East Northgate Drive. There were no reports of injury or damage associated with the event. 

Irving Police closed the case without any suspects, according to a police report released on Oct. 7. 

After tutoring students in chemistry, junior biochemistry major Grace Nye was walking from campus to her apartment in Tower Village at the time that the shooting occurred. Nye began crossing Northgate Drive next to PDK Foods when a car, which was going toward Rochelle Boulevard, yielded for her when she was halfway across the street. Once the car passed, Nye heard shots fired from the car.

“I didn’t know what it was, I thought it was a firecracker or something,” Nye said. 

But when Nye glanced behind her, she saw a gun coming out of the driver’s window, which then fired two more shots as the vehicle drove away. 

“He wasn’t really aiming directly at me,” said Nye. “He was kind of just aiming into the air and firing at nothing.”

The vehicle then continued driving towards Rochelle Boulevard out of Nye’s sight, before she was able to note the type of vehicle or the license plate number. She was unable to see the face of the shooter and thus could not help police identify a suspect.

“I did not really process what happened until the car was gone,” Nye said. She continued walking to her apartment, where her roommates called the Irving Police to report the incident. It was only then that Nye said she realized that what was fired towards here were “actual bullets.”

University of Dallas Police Chief Russell Greene said in an email that the Irving Police Department is investigating the event as a deadly conduct offense. 

“The student was not the target and did not recognize either the vehicle or the suspect,” said Greene. “It should be noted Ms. Nye has been offered all services the university has and UDPD will be working with IPD for any nexus this event has to UD.”

Greene said that officers determined that the incident was not an attack on the university.

“On duty officers found no threats to the university. There is no known connection to the university and no reason to think this will reoccur,” Greene said.

Since there was no ongoing threat to the University, Greene said that there was no need to send a RAVE alert to the community. RAVE alerts are text alerts that notify the university community of “an imminent or ongoing threat” to the campus, according to Dean of Students Julia Carrano.

“No RAVE Alert was done because there was no ongoing threat to our campus and students,” said Greene. Since the event occured in the jurisdiction of Irving police, not UDPD, Greene said that UDPD would “confer with the Irving Police Department for their input,” before sending out an alert for an off-campus occurrence. 

Nye said that the incident seemed like a “freak chance.” 

“He had a gun with him, and he decided for whatever reason to fire it at that moment. But it was not like particularly connected to any place or rationale.”

Raj Luthra, who owns PDK Foods on E. Northgate Dr., said that he heard the gunshots but did not see the vehicle from which they were fired. Luthra said that this is the first time something like this has occurred. 

“First time in 27 years, never happened before,” Luthra said of the incident. He said that he felt this incident was irregular.

Irving police stated that the suspect vehicle was not visible from PDK’s security cameras.

“We checked his cameras, but due to the lighting of the parking lot, the lights obscured the view of Northgate Drive,” the Oct. 7 police report stated.

This incident occurred just a month after another incident near the University Place Condominiums, when a female student was followed by an intoxicated man who was then taken into custody by Irving police on Sept. 7. Nye said that the incidents may be indicative of worsening safety conditions in the area surrounding campus.

“I know that people say that the conditions in Old Mill have been deteriorating in recent years, and it definitely is not the greatest place to live, there are a lot of sketchy people living here,” Nye said.

Nye encouraged students to be alert when walking anywhere, especially if alone.

“Keep your doors locked and exercise reasonable precaution,” Nye said. “And just make sure you have numbers for UDPD and the Irving Police on your phone.”

Greene also urged students to be safe and reach out to UDPD in regards to suspicious incidents or persons. 

“I would urge all staff and students to call UDPD if they see anyone that looks out of place. We would rather find out something turned out to be not suspicious than not get a call about something we could have prevented,” said Greene.

Despite the incident, Nye said that she still feels safe on and around campus.

“I would not say that I feel less safe,” said Nye, “although I will definitely be more careful crossing the road now.”

Irving police stated in the Oct. 7 report that “This report is closed due to a lack of suspect or suspect vehicle information.”

Greene said that the situation has not developed in any way since the incident itself.

“Nothing is new,” Greene told University News on Oct.11 in an email. “There are no suspects and no ongoing situation. We have had no calls for service remotely like this since [the event].”

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