Mercer students concerned about safety after armed robbery, shooting

Students concerned after two incidents involving guns near Mercer campus

Two gun-related incidents have happened at areas directly next to Mercer University in the past week.

On Wednesday night, a man fired six shots at a group of current students and Mercer alumni at the intersection of Coleman and Linden Avenue.

On Sunday afternoon, a man robbed a woman at gunpoint in the pavilion bathroom at Tattnall Square Park, which is bordered by Coleman Avenue.

WMAZ spoke to Mercer students at the park about the incidents and how they’re concerned about their safety.

"Knowing that this is all going on really close to home kind of makes the community feel unsafe," said JR Gumarin. 

At Tattnall Square Park, you'll find soccer fields, running paths, and children on a playground, but the bright allure of the park was slightly dimmed after Sunday’s armed robbery in the bathroom.

"Considering that I'm running out here right now, it makes me feel a little unsafe," said Anna Womick. 

According to a news release from the Bibb County Sheriff's office, the man entered the bathroom with a silver handgun and stole several items from the victim's purse before running from the scene.

"We don't really have a closed off campus and since Tattnall Square Park is so close, especially to where I live, it makes me feel very concerned about my safety sometimes," said Sahara Bryant. 

The armed robbery happened days after a man opened fire on a group of Mercer students in Mercer Village, just a few blocks from the park.

"It just makes me feel unsafe, especially when we don't get the alerts on time," said Bryant. 

Some Mercer students were upset that it took nearly 45 minutes for the university to alert them about last week's shooting.

And on Sunday, it took the school approximately 25 minutes to send out a "bear alert" about the armed robbery.

"I've run in this area for like four years and all of the sudden all these things are being reported on, so it's made me wonder what all hasn't been reported on in the past," said Womick. 

In an e-mail statement to WMAZ, Kyle Sears with Mercer University said:

"Mercer Police does patrol around the park as part of their campus patrols, even though it's in Bibb Sheriff's Office jurisdiction. They will be discussing increased patrols of the park with the sheriff's office."

Most of the people WMAZ spoke to on Monday at the park say the armed robbery won't stop them from coming to Tattnall Square.

"I honestly don't really feel as unsafe here in Tattnall Square. I don't know, I mean it’s just a bigger area," said Gumarin. 

"I really like this park and it probably won’t stop me from using it,” said Rosalee Spivey. 

"I don't think it will deter me. I think it will make me safer and more aware," said Womick.

WMAZ asked the sheriff’s office for any other crime reports from Tattnall Square Park, but their offices were closed in observance of the MLK holiday.

Anyone with information about either of the two incidents is asked to call them at (478) 751-7500.

© 2018 WMAZ-TV


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