Virginia State University Raises Security Measures After Two Students Shot And Killed Near Campus

Last week Virginia State University (VSU) announced that it will be increasing security measures after two students recently died in shootings within nine days apart from each other.

On August 24, VSU freshman, Matthew Gibbs, 19, was found shot dead in a Petersburg neighborhood. Just over a week later, on September 3, VSU sophomore, Adrionna Brooks West, 20, was shot and killed in her car around 11 p.m. in Petersburg.

“The deaths of Matthew Gibbs and Adrionna West deeply impacted our Trojan community,” VSU President Makola M. Abdullah said in a news release. “While these deaths did not happen on our campus, we are no less saddened and angered by the senseless gun violence that stole two promising young scholars who were also members of our Trojan family.”

Following the tragic deaths of Gibbs and West, President Abdullah announced a list of enhanced safety measures that will be added to the campus as well as the surrounding community in collaboration with Petersburg Police and City officials.

The new safety measures at Virginia State University are:

  • VSU Police will meet every day with Petersburg Police to share intelligence and inform the VSU community of any activity/crimes that may impact students.
  • VSU Police and Petersburg Police will continue to patrol apartment complexes where students have been assigned.
  • Police from VSU, Colonial Heights, Chesterfield, and a private security company will continue to monitor hotels where students have been assigned.
  • VSU Police will be called to the scene of any incident in Petersburg that involves any VSU student.
  • VSU Police will be alerted to any large gathering of VSU students in Petersburg (including parties).

President Abdullah also said that there are more than 1,200 HD monitored cameras around campus and that the university has hired a private company to provide additional security in residence halls.

Additionally, the school will continue to perform unannounced safety sweeps inside campus residence halls, and security personnel and VSU police officers will maintain a strong presence on campus and at off-campus VSU-assigned housing, according to Abdullah.

“We remain dedicated to providing our Trojan Family a safe and secure environment,” Abdullah said. “While we work to do our part, we cannot guarantee protection against all unknowns. That is why we ask that you partner with us to prioritize safety on and off campus.”

Students who see suspicious or criminal activities or other emergencies on or off campus are encouraged to report them to the Virginia State University Police Department at 804-524-5411 or call 911 for off-campus emergencies.

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