Students disappointed in JMU’s approach to homicide alert

They describe the communication as late and vague, given the urgency of danger.
They describe the communication as late and vague, given the urgency of danger.(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 6:44 PM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Students are disappointed and angry by how James Madison University alerted them on the Friday night house party that ended with a double-homicide. They describe the communication as late and vague, given the urgency of danger.

“It’s concerning because nobody knew what was going on and then, through other outlets like SideChat or GroupMe, people started finding out and spreading information so we knew before the University actually decided to say something around 8 AM the next day,” JMU Junior & First Year Transfer Student Ethan Crawford said.

Two lives were taken when shots were fired on the 2300 block of Newberry Lane at Redpoint Harrisonburg, according to police. Although JMU does not own Redpoint Harrisonburg, students like Ethan Crawford believe administration could have done better with keeping students updated.

”The problem with what happened was JMU released a text message that said shelter-in-place, compared to actually explaining what was going on. Nobody had any idea: it was more just heavy police presence, but what was the police presence for?” Crawford said.

As for the ongoing investigation, the Rockingham County Sheriffs Office still does not have a suspect in custody. Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson said he and his team have been “literally working around the clock ever since it happened in order to solve this horrible crime.”

Sheriff Hutcheson said RCSO will provide more information as soon as they can, and they encourage any witnesses or bystanders to reach out to them if they have any information.

We reached out to JMU about protocols for communicating off-campus incidents, but they were not able to comment at the time of publication.

A family friend of one of the homicide victims, a 17-year-old student of Harrisonburg High School started a GoFundMe page that people can support, knowing the need for funeral arrangements. The community has flooded the family with support so far, not only meeting the goal to raise ten thousand dollars, but surpassing it.