Fraternity safety issues arise after drive-by shooting

Esteban Cortez / The Collegian

Drive-by shooting a part of increasing list of near-campus crime

Event safety issues flared up this summer after a drive-by shooting off Shaw Avenue at party hosted by the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity on Sunday, June 19.

After four individuals tried get into the party and were denied entry, the suspects returned to their vehicle. A short time later they drove away, then opened fire at the attending crowd leaving two injured.

The crime alert from the University Police Department released on Jan. 19 stated, “two people at the party were struck in their legs.”

Because of the incident, Pi Kappa Alpha is currently under review by Fresno State.

Events organized by the fraternity have been suspended “to ensure the safety of the fraternity, campus and community members,” director of student involvement at Fresno State Sally Ramage said.

“We have given them the opportunity to meet with us before the beginning of school and at that point we will determine what the future is, based upon their plan” Ramage said. “I have every belief they have been working this summer in order to secure plans to make certain that the organization has a safe future.”

The incident was one of a small handful of violent crimes that have occurred within a short proximity of the campus over the course of the last three months, of which included a June 1 stabbing on Barstow Avenue by Cedar and Millbrook Avenues.

“This incident was a random violent act against the students of Fresno State,” Pi Kappa Alpha president Michael Eberhard said in an e-mail interview.

Fresno State and University Police suggest that sororities and fraternities inform them of planned events throughout the school year.

“The incident was not related to the university. That incident was related to the community,” said Ramage. “There were individuals who were trying to interrupt and insert themselves into an event.”

Crimes close to campus have sparked awareness on the Facebook group “Revitalize the Fresno State Community” which currently has 1,058 members.

A fraternity member of Sigma Nu, who requested to remain anonymous, said it is common to have “almost fights” or other problems at some fraternity parties.

“We have the Greek community, students, and then we have all the people who live in Fresno who try to come to ‘close parties’,” the Sigma Nu member said.

“It’s a terrible situation when you have outside people who try to get in and it turns into fighting or they come back to retaliate. We have this happen here numerous times,” he added.

To maintain better control of a party Sigma Nu “normally calls the cops for the bigger parties we have, or [private] security,” the member said. “I don’t think Phi had policing that night which is probably one more reason why it happened.”

Kappa Sigma member Bryan Sortner said it is very common to have non-students trying to get into their parties.

“The risk management takes care of that at the gate, to make sure we know the people that are coming in,” Sortner said.

A maintenance apartment employee, who wished to remain anonymous due to possible retaliation, concluded that student fraternities and some citizens around the area can be very “bad” neighbors. “It’s kind of hard to avoid it when there is a lot of people” living together in a neighborhood.

“There is a lot of drinking but they don’t really yell,” Fresno State student Cellina Xiong said.

Xiong lives in an apartment complex near Sigma Nu and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternities.

“They have events about five times a year. If they have an event during the weekend, then it gets really loud.”

You have to consider that 28 college men living together in one apartment complex, that things will get noisy, but I don’t feel that we are inconsiderate of our neighbors,” Eberhard said. “We keep our facility clean and we do our best to give notices to our neighbors in advance when we host social events at our house.”

We hope to develop a neighborhood watch in our area and hopefully that will strengthen the relationship between us and our neighbors,” Eberhard added.

Pi Kappa Alpha, along with other campus organizations, are developing revitalization efforts along with Fresno State, Associated Student Inc., Fresno Police Department, campus organizations, community groups, Fresno State students and other collaborating actors.

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