Search continues for suspect after 5 shot near SVSU's campus - WNEM TV 5

Search continues for suspect after 5 shot near SVSU's campus

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Source: WNEM Source: WNEM
SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Police continue their search for a gunman who opened fire near a local college campus.

Saturday night started with a party at the Campus Village Apartments. The complex is located across the street from Saginaw Valley State University.

Residents said it was a typical night since the start of school, but it's what ended the party they remember most.

“Multiple shots were fired into a crowd. There were upwards of 1,000 people behind this complex to my left,” Sheriff William Federspiel said.

Police said five people were shot when an unidentified person pulled out a gun and opened fire at what had been a peaceful party.

"All of a sudden, we heard some shots go off and I thought it was fireworks at first and then all of a sudden I see people dispersing and going crazy,” a male student told TV5.

The male student, who didn't want to be identified, said he lives in one of the apartments and was feet away from one of the victims who was shot.

"People started running to my door and next thing I remember I was telling everyone to get inside, like I didn't really care who they were, I was just trying to get everyone out of here. About 100 people ran through my apartment,” he said.

The student said massive parties have become common, but he never imagined a shooting happening in his backyard.

“Everyone just has to be on their toes all the time and ready because people come here and do stupid things like this and you think it can't happen to you until it happens to you,” he said.

Now police are looking for the suspect, a man in his 20s with dread locks and blonde ends. A person that police said took a good night and nearly turned it deadly.

"We're asking anyone with information about the shooter or anything related to this incident to call the Saginaw County Sheriff's Office,” Federspiel said.

Police said the victims who were shot were not students at SVSU. SVSU President Donald Bachand said the injuries were not life-threatening. They were all treated and released in a four hour period.

The victims were all males from the ages of 19 to 24. Two were 19, one was 21 and the other two men were 24. Four of them were Saginaw residents and one of the 19-year-olds was from Carrollton.

"The campus community reacted well and immediately to the incident, implementing a campus-wide emergency alert within the first half hour. We have been communicating with and monitoring the media and social media aspects of the issue since the incident occurred. A key objective for us was to quickly confirm that the injured were not SVSU students," Bachand said.

Police said it is still unclear what led to the violence.

"The shots went off during the music and people couldn't tell if it was like the music of if, you know if it was the air guns and all of a sudden it was like panic and chaos," Wyatt Meese said.

He attended the party where the shooting happened. He lives next to the courtyard where the incident took place.

"I immediately just threw open the door and was just trying to get people inside like 'come, you know just don't worry about it. Get inside. Get inside.' And within I'd say like a minute everybody had cleared out. Within two minutes the police had already arrived," Meese said.

Prior to the party, SVSU's football team defeated Northwood University. Ryan Verhelst was on the team and attended the party to celebrate the victory.

"You could hear the gunshots and it was kind of weird. It wasn't what you think a gunshot would sound like and everyone just kind of took off running," Verhelst said.

He said there are big parties there all the time, but he's never seen anything close to that incident.

"Hopefully that doesn't put a damper on anything, the good energy that was going on around here," Verhelst said.

The property manager at the apartment complex said they are looking at ways to improve safety. They said they have never had a shooting there before and security was beefed up in anticipation of the party.

As for Meese, he said he never wants to experience anything like it again.

"It was a little bit of panic. You know, you don't expect to live through that or have that happen," Meese said.

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward up to $1,000 for information leading to the suspect's arrest. You can call them at 1-800-422-JAIL.

Copyright 2016 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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