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'How did he get onto campus?' | University of Saint Joseph's safety under scrutiny in light of campus shooting

A police report revealed the suspect Darnell Barnes allegedly showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s dorm a week before the shooting.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — In the wake of a shooting on the University of Saint Joseph campus in West Hartford last Friday, questions are swirling about how public safety handled an incident that led up to it.

The shooting was related to a love triangle. Based on police documents, the suspect's ex-girlfriend claims that in an incident leading up to it, her call for help was not responded to.

FOX61 obtained the eight-page police report which reveals that a week before Darnell Barnes opened fire on the University of Saint Joseph campus in West Hartford, he allegedly showed up at his ex-girlfriends dorm and blocked her from leaving campus. 

RELATED: Shooting at University of St. Joseph campus motivated by love triangle: Court documents

The report states, “...that lasted for about 30 minutes during which time (the victim) stated she called Saint Joe’s Public Safety. (The victim) stated that Public Safety never came.”

FOX61 went to Saint Joe’s in search of answers. We met the school’s Director of Public Safety Javier Rosario who said, “Anything that’s made public through either the university or West Hartford Police Department is what’s out there. I can’t help out.”

The university did get back later with a statement that read, in part, “The call was 31 seconds in length, and the caller did not identify themselves…a USJ public safety officer conducted a patrol check...and engaged student resident assistants in an interior walk-through of the residence halls. No unauthorized person was found...”

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Saint Joseph's students told FOX61 the whole ordeal still has them shaken and wanting to know more. 

“Honestly I was shocked because I thought, where did that person come from? How did he get onto campus?” asked Kingsley Boakye.

Graduate student Amanda Teti pointed out that other universities have gates at the entrances. 

“That made anybody who was on campus feel safe because people couldn’t just get in easily. They had very tight security. Here it’s an open campus so anybody can drive onto campus at any time which makes it less safe." said Teti.

FOX61 pulled the 2021 Clery report on the St. Joseph’s campus, which shows crime is rare. Between 2018 and 2020 the university reported two incidents of rape, four incidents of burglary and one incident each of fondling and stalking. 

“In all the time I’ve been here we haven’t really had something like this,” added Teti.

That CLERY report does include the requirement of an access card to get into the dormitories and shows a map of blue light emergency terminals throughout campus. 

RELATED: West Hartford shooting suspect taken into custody after weekend-long search

“I think we probably need more security. It should be more tight. We should probably search those who come in,” said Boakye.

The suspect, Darnell Barnes, was charged with the attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend’s new partner. Barnes will be back in court on December 1. The shooting victim was seriously wounded.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


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