WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The Catholic University of America (CUA) is stepping up security after a homicide on the campus.
Maxwell Emerson, 25, was shot and killed on Alumni Lane last week. Officials said Emerson, who was a Kentucky high school teacher, was in town attending a conference. 22-year-old Jaime Macedo was arrested and charged for the murder.
Surveillance cameras captured videos of Emerson and Macedo walking together from the Brookland Metro stop up to campus, where Macedo allegedly shot Emerson. It happened around 8 a.m. on July 5.
“My first reaction was like shock. I’ve always known this place to feel very safe and never really worried about anything like that,” said Ben Rees, a rising senior at Catholic.
Rees said he still feels safe on the campus, but he has been more aware of security. He also said he’d support any changes needed to make the area more secure.
“I think a lot of people are scared, a lot of people will appreciate the change,” he said.
In a letter sent to parents and students Friday, CUA President Peter Kilpatrick detailed plans to reinforce security measures following the crime.
The steps are as follows:
- Our DPS officers are increasing foot, vehicular, and bike patrols to raise visibility inside and along the perimeter of campus.
- We will immediately begin to increase our armed officer presence on campus, and more DPS officers will be carrying authorized firearms. The necessary training, certifications, and credentialing have been ongoing, and we expect that there will be an armed DPS presence on every shift.
- Additional contract security guards will be deployed around campus and its perimeter, including at the Metro stop and near the DuFour Athletic Center, to augment police and DPS officers.
- New safety training materials are being developed to help remind students, faculty, and staff about resources available on campus to keep them safe.
- Additional electronic keycard access points are being installed on the exterior of academic and administrative buildings to make certain that only authorized persons are entering those buildings (all residential buildings and some academic buildings already feature these).
- We expect to hire a full-time director for emergency services by the beginning of the fall semester.
- Additional DPS patrol vehicles are being put into service, enabling our officers to enhance their visibility while reducing unwanted activity on and around campus.
- We will be installing devices designed to block classroom doors from opening in the event of emergencies and active threats.
- The University completed its building address project, allowing first responders to quickly and directly find the fire, police, or health emergency when 911 is called.
- The MPD’s Fourth District will continue its partnership with DPS and the University to continue delivering police services on and around campus.
According to CUA, there are more than 600 surveillance cameras on campus, which is a nearly 700 percent increase from 2021.
“It’s sad, it’s just tragic. Prevention is better than cure,” said Ph.D. student Ramyajit Mitra, speaking of the murder.
Mitra said he’s glad the university is stepping up security, although he believes it’s long overdue.
“This is not an isolated incident. We have had incidents like this in the area as well. This should’ve been done a long time back, I’m glad they’re taking notice and doing something about it, so thanks for that I guess,” he said.
“I think it’s great they are talking about it and looking at what can be done. I think it’s a responsible way to react to the situation,” said graduate student Joseph Saad.
Saad said he supports the added measures, although he’s not sure it’s actually needed.
“I don’t necessarily think this one murder is the start of a new string of crime happening on campus. It seems like with the history I’ve seen, it’s a one-off thing. It’s tragic,” he explained. “I think whenever you see a lot of protection it makes you apprehensive about why it’s there.”