Last Thursday morning, university police arrested a homeless man on charges of criminal trespassing, inducing panic, and drug possession after he reportedly entered the Capital Center weight room and erratically swung a fencing sword in the weight room.
After the Columbus Fox News channel reported on the incident the next day, students on Facebook voiced concern over not receiving a CapAlert message or email from the university.
Nichole Johnson, the university’s executive director of marketing communications, said since the incident was contained and did not pose an on-going threat to students, information regarding the incident was posted on Capital’s safety bulletin rather than through CapAlert.
When told of the safety bulletin’s existence, junior Zac Holley asked of the safety bulletin’s location and said, “A CapAlert would have been 20 million times better.”
Kirstin Winke, junior, said she has been extremely happy with her three years at Capital but was upset by the absent CapAlert.
“[Capital is] always keeping everyone up to date with minute-to-minute notices,” Winkie said. “So hearing about that man was a slap in the face because I know Capital would never purposely leave students in danger, but I can’t understand why we weren’t informed about it right away, like we always have been in the past.”
The offender, Alexander Jackson-Matu, entered the building around 6:39 a.m. without use of force wearing a blanket under his jacket.
A student worker called campus police at 8:02 a.m., officers arrived on the scene at 8:04 a.m., and Jackson-Matu was arrested at 8:12 a.m.
Capital PD Chief Francisco Fernandez said he believes Jackson-Matu, 23, was able to enter the building because he was mistaken for a student.
No one was hurt in the incident, nor does Jackson-Matu have known connections with Capital or the Bexley area.
During a search, police reported finding a syringe and a plastic bag containing what tested positive for crystal meth.
This incident is the only case Capital police has dealt with concerning hard drugs, which probably created his erratic behavior, said Fernandez.
“What we always suggest is if you see something, say something,” Fernandez said. “Once he started taking his shirt off and erratically swinging the sword, that got somebody’s attention.”
Fernandez also encourages students to use the Guardian app to send a text or picture to campus police to report any unusual behavior.
Johnson raised the idea of students, especially first-years who are not familiar with the campus community, not wanting to be quick to judge people.