Two Gonzaga University students who fended off a potential home invasion on Oct. 24 by brandishing a pistol were put on probation and had their weapons confiscated by campus security.
While they are relieved they weren’t suspended, they are now fighting their probation and seeking to have their weapons returned. They have filed a stolen property report, charging campus security with stealing their guns.
When a homeless man demanded money and tried to force his way into his apartment, Erik Fagan tried to appease him by offering a blanket and a can of food. Fagan said the man became belligerent and combative, so he shouted to roommate Daniel McIntosh, who brought Fagan’s 10mm Glock handgun downstairs. Fagan has a concealed weapons permit.
McIntosh said he drew on the intruder who took off when he saw the weapon. They then made the mistake of calling Spokane, Wash., police and campus security.
Police commended the men for using the proper amount of force to fend off a potential attack. But campus security returned the next day, hammered on their door and ordered them to give up their weapons. Security confiscated Fagan’s handgun and a shotgun McIntosh had for sport shooting.
It seems Fagan and McIntosh had run afoul of a campus policy that prohibits weapons on university-owned property, even though their apartment was off campus. Though they faced suspension or expulsion, the school put them on probation but warned they could be suspended for any future policy violation.
Fagan says the policy is unfair because their apartment is located in an unsafe neighborhood and they don’t have the same security as dorm students do. The incident showed a handgun was necessary to keep them safe, he said.
Police later arrested a suspect in the attempted home invasion. He’s John M. Taylor, 29, a six-time felon whose crimes have included riot with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance and unlawful imprisonment. He was picked up after he was caught burglarizing a nearby home.
And by the way, in Washington, theft of a weapon is a class B felony. Any chance the campus security will be charged?
Commendably, Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said the incident opens the door to “thoughtful evaluation” of the school’s gun policy.
“I believe this to be an opportunity to do some important work as a community,” McCulloh said. “To objectively re-examine our firearms policy and openly debate perspectives and contextual issues with an eye towards an honest and open review of the same.”