By Joe Engleman
Police arrested a Grinnell College senior on Feb. 28 after College staff found four handguns, one of which was loaded, in his room in Main Hall, according to a criminal complaint.
The evening began when Campus Security and Residence Life received tips that the student had intimidated other students with weapons. Security and Residence Life contacted Grinnell Police.
Grinnell Police Officer Heath Jepson responded and joined Campus Security in Main Hall.
“Upon arrival, I saw one underage male drinking alcohol and [the senior], who was being investigated for the aforementioned intimidation,” Jepson wrote in a criminal complaint. “I saw several items of drug paraphernalia in plain view, including two bongs and glass pipes, a grater, and other items with marijuana residue on them.”
Jepson then arrested the student for possession of drug paraphernalia, and College staff proceeded to search his dorm room, where Jepson said they found handguns and the “edged weapons” used in the intimidation.
“[He] admitted to possession of the handguns and ammunition, as well as the edged weapons used in the intimidation incident(s),” Jepson wrote.
The student is charged with carrying weapons on school grounds, a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a potential fine of $750 to $7,500. He is also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Grinnell Police Captain Theresa Peterson said he had been released on bail after a hearing on the morning of March 1.
President Raynard Kington wrote in an all-campus email sent on March 1 that weapons had been found in a student’s room and the College believed there was currently no threat to the community.
Dean of Students Travis Greene said he could not comment on the exact details of the case because it is currently an ongoing investigation. Greene said he, the Residence Life Coordinators, and Director of Residence Life Andrea Conner had just met to review the College’s policies.
“I think Grinnell has the potential to use this as a teaching moment to figure out, here are the things that went really well and here are the things that we can improve upon, so if we can use technology to figure how to get information in a timely manner, we’re thinking outside the box of how to do that,” Greene said. “We have and we’ll continue to look at our policies and protocols of how to respond to various situations.”
Editor’s Note: While the previous version of this article correctly identified the student in question, based on the criminal complaint, the S&B agreed to remove his name from our website after several weeks. Further disclosure will be based on the student and the outcome of the investigation.