Much like any other larger town in the United States, Springfield, Ohio is not immune to firearm violence. The community was reminded of this in the early hours of this past Easter. Jeff Wellington, 17-years-old, was killed at around 2:45 a.m. outside of a house of a friend nearly two miles off Wittenberg’s campus on North Limestone Ave. Although the event appears to have no ties to the university, many in the community were saddened to hear of the fate of a promising young teenager.
Wellington was reportedly trying to resolve a dispute among friends and strangers in the parking lot of the Coventry Village Apartment complex when he was shot by one of the strangers shortly before the suspect ran off. Shortly after arriving at the Miami Valley Hospital, Wellington was reported to have died from the injuries he sustained from the single gunshot.
A junior at Springfield High School and a standout running back for Wildcats football, Wellington was viewed by many as a great person and an exceptional athlete. Springfield superintendent David Estrop has released a statement sending his condolences to the family and friends of Wellington while saying that since the event occurred off school grounds, the Springfield Police Department would be handling the investigation. Police have identified Tyrin Lemond Hawkings as a suspect in their investigation.
“Since this event took place almost two miles off campus, Wittenberg Police and Security is not part of the investigative efforts,” said Jim Hutchins, Wittenberg chief of police. In terms of helping to keep Wittenberg safe of firearm crime, Hutchins says “although we try and create a presence of safety by having officers all over campus, we still need the help of students to report any suspicious activity they might see around campus.”
According to the university student code, firearms of all kinds are strictly prohibited anywhere on Wittenberg’s campus including concealed carry permitted weapons. Students who wish to keep a firearm with them at school must register the weapon with Police and Security and allow the weapon to remain with them when not being used at approved locations. Punishments for been found with having a firearm on campus would be a dean citation unless the intentions of the individual appear to be criminal, in which case the individual could be turned over to the Springfield authorities.
“Similar to the incidences of break-ins around campus earlier in the semester, the best way to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation with a stranger is to know who you are letting into your home,” said Hutchins. “We are all responsible for maintaining a safe environment of Wittenberg’s campus.” Hutchins urges students to contact him with any questions either through email at email@example.com or by calling Wittenberg Police and Security at (937) 327-6231.