Cops held Rowan students at gunpoint after report of gunman
GLASSBORO — Police issued their first statement about the events that led to officers drawing their guns on two Rowan University students on campus Monday afternoon. The police report significantly differs from the school's version of events, which the university admits they got wrong.
In a statement on the Glassboro police Facebook page, Chief Franklin S. Brown Jr. said that contrary to earlier reports about the incident, there was no armed robbery, no 911 call and that police did not stop the wrong car, as the school had stated a day earlier.
Police did, however, did respond to a report from a witness who claimed to have seen someone pointing a gun at a car.
Brown said officers had been investigating a shoplifting at a cellphone store at the Collegetown Shopping Center around 4:30 p.m. when a man entered the store to tell them that someone had been pointing what looked like a gun at a black Dodge Charger parked in the fire lane. Another officer in the area saw the car as it traveled toward the Rowan campus and watched it until it turned onto North Campus Drive and entered the campus.
"During this incident, the on-scene officers utilized their training and followed established protocol to ensure the safety of everyone involved in this incident," Brown wrote.
The students were temporarily cuffed by police as police searched the car. Brown said that after their initial investigation, no weapon was found in the car and a male and woman were told why they were stopped. The students complied with the officers and the situation came to an end without further incident.
NBC Philadelphia identified the students as Altaif Hsasan, a senior from Trenton, and Giovanna Roberson, a freshman from Cherry Hill.
Hassan later posted on his Facebook page that he did not feel safe on campus and he had been "getting harassed" by Glassboro police for the last four years.
"I stayed silent only telling friends and family, now i realize that my silence almost cost me my life," Hassan wrote.
The incident in front of Mimosa Hall was witnessed by a number of students and staff who recorded the incident and posted to social media.
Rowan spokesman Joe Cardona acknowledged the university got the summary of the events wrong because they were
operating under the pressure of the college community wanting to know what had happened and were going off the information they had gathered. He said that Glassboro police had the ability to do a thorough investigation.
"There was an alleged crime two blocks away from the university. There were two people in the car," Cardona said.
Rowan is still holding a scheduled town hall meeting about race and law enforcement on Friday in the Student Center.