The union representing Towson University police officers sounded off about the suspension of a cop it says was ordered to “stand down” as a gathering of hundreds of revelers partied on campus – before a shooting erupted during the outdoor festivities, injuring three people.
The unidentified, veteran officer was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into whether “established procedures” were performed for the Sept. 4 gathering, which involved an estimated 400 people coming together on campus near Freedom Square.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 2 President Joe Gregory said officers were told not to break up the unsanctioned gathering, which reportedly included a DJ and alcohol, and the now suspended officer had directed his entire shift to monitor the party anyway, the Associated Press reported.
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Once shots rang out around 2 a.m., campus police officers ran through the crowd looking for victims, and three people wounded were transported to the hospital, Gregory said. He categorized the suspension as an attack on an officer just carrying out orders. One of those individuals injured was a Towson University student, another was the suspected gunman, 19-year-old Samuel Nnam.
In response, University Police Chief Charles Herring affirmed that any allegations that officers were ordered to “stand down” during the gathering were “reckless, misleading and categorically false,” saying those claims only hinder the investigation and undermine officers’ authority.
The Baltimore County Police Department, the agency now leading the investigation into the incident, arrested Nnam on Sept. 7 shortly after he was discharged from an area hospital. The department said in a statement that evidence collected at the scene and surveillance video proves Nnam “began to discharge the firearm he was carrying striking himself and two others.”
Charges against him include attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, carrying a loaded handgun, and use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. Nnam was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center without bail.
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The student injured in the shooting has since been released from the hospital and is expected to return to campus, Fox 5 DC reported. Towson University’s Office of Public Safety said it was upping foot patrols and would immediately start increasing monitoring and active engagement with those attending unsanctioned events anywhere on campus at any hour of the day or night, WBAL-TV reported.
Fox News reached out to Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 2 for additional comment but did not hear back before publication.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.