At approximately 11:20 p.m. on Thursday, three men in hooded sweatshirts approached a female Knox student while she was walking near the outdoor track. One man produced a silver pistol and asked for her money. As she was attempting to hand over her possessions, the man struck her with the gun and she fell to the ground where she was struck several more times. The men searched her pockets and stole a small purse.
Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf said that though the girl was walking alone, she was in a “well-lit” area of campus and followed all the correct procedures when she was approached.
After the men ran away from the girl, toward the gym, she ran into Seymour where she met another student who saw the men running away. The second student, senior Devan Cameron, walked to the Gizmo with the victim and called Campus Safety. The Campus Safety officers responded to the scene and subsequently contacted the Galesburg Police Department and medical services.
“The actions of the victim as well as [Cameron] were impressive,” said Schlaf. “Under the most difficult circumstances, [the victim] maintained her self control, which was critical.”
The girl was taken by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital and treated for head injuries. Campus Safety searched within campus perimeters while the Galesburg police searched the off-campus areas surrounding Knox. The Galesburg police found a group of three men and arrested two on outstanding warrants that have no confirmed correlation to the robbery.
Since the incident, Schlaf has been in contact with the Galesburg Police Department in an effort to apprehend and convict those responsible for the robbery.
“We feel like we’ve got the support of the city and they understand our concerns,” said Schlaf. Schlaf speaks with the Galesburg Police Department nearly daily about issues on and around campus involving the larger city. He plans to maintain this contact and share information in order to reduce the probability of crime on campus as it relates to Galesburg citizens.
Schlaf, who has been the Director of Campus Safety since September of 2006 and the police chief of the Galesburg Police Department, cannot recall another armed robbery on campus in the past 10 years.
“This is a unique event,” said Schlaf.
Currently, the Campus Safety staff is made up of 13 officers, both part and full time. The number of officers on duty at any one time or day varies. They patrol campus by foot and vehicle, as well as on-call.
On Thursday night, Schlaf said that two officers were on foot around campus making sure that Knox buildings were locked and safe, as they do most nights. They were able to respond to Cameron’s call from there.
For several months prior to this incident, Schlaf has been working on a proposal to place security cameras on campus. As a result of “recent incidences,” Knox President Roger Taylor decided to proceed with the installation of the cameras on Tuesday morning.