Crime & Courts

Wichita State University, police investigate apparent homicide on campus

Wichita police investigate a homicide Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Fairmount Towers dormitory on Wichita State’s campus.
Wichita police investigate a homicide Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Fairmount Towers dormitory on Wichita State’s campus. The Wichita Eagle

Wichita State University police are investigating a student’s death early Saturday morning in the parking lot of Fairmount Towers on the WSU campus.

Officers with the Wichita Police Department are assisting in the investigation.

Wichita police Sgt. Paul Kimble said police received a call shortly before 6:30 a.m. Saturday from “somebody leaving for work” to check on a man lying in the parking lot of the dormitory.

When police arrived, they found the man beside a car unresponsive and covered in blood, with an injury to his arm and apparent gunshot wounds, Kimble said.

The man was transported to Wesley Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, Kimble said. Police are not identifying the victim until next-of-kin notifications can be made.

Police currently have no suspects in the case, which is being investigated as a homicide.

“We are following up on some leads and some information, trying to further the case,” he said.

Kimble said police had not received any reports of a disturbance overnight.

“We’re not exactly sure what happened or how it happened,” Kimble said.

All Wichita State students and faculty members received a “timely warning” e-mail Saturday morning about the incident, describing the basic facts but not stating the victim was a WSU student.

Wichita State students are expected to move in for the fall semester next weekend.

“Quite a few” students live on Wichita State’s campus over the summer, either because they are taking summer classes, working for the university, or are out-of-town students interning in Wichita, said Joseph Shepard, WSU’s student body president.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic death this morning of a WSU student," WSU President John Bardo said in a statement. "The University Police Department is working closely with the Wichita Police Department on the investigation.

"The continued safety of our students, faculty, staff and guests is a top priority.”

Abdulrahman Alotaibi, vice president of the Saudi Student Association at Wichita State, said the victim was a 23-year-old Saudi electrical engineering undergraduate student.

He was not a member of the Saudi Student Association, but Alotaibi said he “was around campus” frequently.

He questions why police have no suspects in the case so far.

“Where is the police department?” he said. “They can see things in the parking lot on camera. What’s going on?”

Shepard expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the student “lost in this senseless violence.”

“We don’t have many details as to what happened ... this morning at Fairmount Towers,” Shepard said. “What we do know is one of our Shocker students, part of our family, is gone. Just like any other family, this loss is not easy for us. My prayers and thoughts to the victim’s family and friends. They are now going through a situation where they won’t be able to wake up in the morning and see their loved one. That’s not an easy situation to deal with.”

Shepard said people should not think the area around Fairmount Towers is unsafe because of Saturday morning’s shooting.

“I grew up in an area like that, and I do realize there are crime in these areas,” he said. “What happened in the Fairmount neighborhood can happen anywhere — it’s not because it’s in a low-income community that the crime rate increases.

“What happened to this student is tragic, but I don’t believe it has anything to do with the area itself.”

Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact Wichita State police or the Wichita Police Department.

“This is first time in a very, very long time there’s a been a shooting on the WSU campus area,” Kimble said. “If anybody has any information ... we’d love to talk to you.”

The last report of a homicide on WSU campus was in 1993, when two people were shot and killed when gunfire broke out between two rival gangs after the conclusion of a Fourth of July fireworks show at Cessna Stadium.

This case would be Wichita’s 16th homicide of 2015.

Reach Matt Riedl at 316-268-6660 or mriedl@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RiedlMatt.

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