Handgun fired at Cutler, suspected gunman arrested
Erin Granger and Aaron Walling / Sun Star
Campus police have arrested a suspect in connection with a reported gunman at the Cutler apartment complex Saturday night.
The suspect, identified as Dijon Lamar Martin, 24, was arrested around 3:30 p.m Sunday on two charges of third degree assault.
According to interviews with the suspects, the conflict on campus began at an intersection near the Cutler apartments. Police reports say a male student was on his way to a friend’s apartment when he got into an argument with the people in the suspected vehicle.
The student then continued to his friends house and was followed by the suspected car. The student entered his friends house and another male student came outside the house.
The five suspects, described as one white man and four black men, tried to gain entrance to a party, according the campus police. After the party’s host refused to allow the men entrance, an altercation ensued. The men left and then returned.
Martin got into another altercation with a student outside the apartment, waving a handgun around and pointing it at other people, eventually firing a shot into the ground, police say.
The student who came out of the apartment later told authorities that Martin pointed the gun at him multiple times before he returned to the apartment for fear of getting shot, according to court records.
No injuries were reported in the incident according the university spokeswoman Marmian Grimes.
An alert was sent out to students at 11:14 p.m warning of a gunman on campus.
“When I first saw him, I thought that I needed get everyone out of the room,” Edward Russel, a 22-year-old Mechanical Engineering student said. “I am happy everyone moved as fast as they did. Before I was done with my phone call, the police were already here. I felt like the alert system was too slow, our response was faster than the alert system.”
Students were advised via the alert to avoid the Cutler area if possible, hide, silence their phones and await the all clear message.
“Once we got upstairs, we kept quiet, and as safe as possible,” Peter Kelly, 21, a Civil Engineering student, said. “[The UAF alert system] seemed a little slow. The police response was extremely quick.”
Following the gunshot, Martin and the three other men then fled the scene, police say.
Campus police, with the assistance of Fairbanks Police and Alaska State troopers then searched campus and confirmed the suspects had left campus.
According to court records, Martin reportedly stopped by his girlfriend’s house on 24th Avenue, where he left the weapon, a 9mm Glock, before attempting to enter Fort Wainwright.Martin was arrested after Ft. Wainwright police stopped a vehicle matching the description of the suspected car, a silver four-door sedan. Police then interviewed Martin as well as the vehicles three other passengers, according to UAF police.
The suspected vehicle entered Ft. Wainwright through the main gate and was recognized by army base police who then stopped the vehicle and contacted UAF police. Confessions from the suspects were then gathered on the scene of the traffic stop.
UAF Police Chief Steve Goetz emphasized the value of law enforcement collaboration in this case.
“As soon as the call came out, we requested assistance from State Troopers and from Fairbanks City Police and their units all responded up here along with our three people that were on duty,” Goetz said.”Literally the whole campus was covered with law enforcement looking for [the suspected vehicle] and troopers actually helped us with our interviews at the scene. If we didn’t have that, we might not have solved this one.”
There were three of UAF Police Department’s five officers on duty the night of the incident according to Goetz. Typically there is only one on duty, Goetz said.
During his confession, Martin informed authorities that he fired his weapon as a “warning shot,” according to court records. The other three men in the vehicle told authorities that they had tried to convinced Martin to return to his vehicle during the altercation.
Students were given the all clear message at at 12:17 a.m, stating it was safe to resume normal activities but advising continued caution.
Martin has been placed in jail with a $5,000 bail. The three other suspects in the car on the night of the arrest were not charged in connection with the incident.
“I want to thank the officers and dispatchers at the UAF Police Department for their response to this incident,” Chancellor Thomas said in an email. “They were able to alert our community quickly, so we all could take steps to keep ourselves safe, and then work this case to identify and arrest a suspect within a short amount of time.”