The Trinity University Police Department took Marima Simmons into custody on Wednesday, March 4 in the Coates University Center. Simmons, who has a history of crime at the university, was a suspect in recent theft cases around campus.
Bryony Harris, junior, was in Coates when the situation unfolded.
â€œI was on my computer and I looked up and the cop had just walked in and was talking with this guy, and all of a sudden he had his gun on him pretty quickly. He asked the student sitting next to him to move and eventually the guy got on the ground. Then more cops came at that point, feeling him up, checking for stuff and had him in handcuffs,â€ Harris said. â€œIt was pretty quick. It only took a couple of minutes, and they escorted him out.â€
Harris noted the speed of the entire incident, and how quickly the situation was taken care of.
â€œIt just happened really fast,â€ Harris said. â€œI didnâ€™t even notice him until the cop was talking to him when I thought he looked really familiar, as the guy from the Bell Center pictures.â€
Senior Connor Amoruso witnessed the incident from the second floor of Coates and pointed out how calm students were during the arrest.
â€œI was on the second level of Coates and I was just doing some work when I heard something that sounded interesting, kind of authoritative. I looked over and the cop already had his gun drawn and from what I could see, [Simmons] was just sitting at one of the tables. The cop pointed the gun at him [and] asked him to take off his hood. Then he told him to lay down and then waited until he got the students to move out of the way and waited until the other officers arrived,â€ Â Amoruso said. â€œIt was interesting, all the students were very calm.â€
TUPD chief of police, Paul Chapa, recalled the incident as well, noting Simmonsâ€™ previous thefts on Trinityâ€™s campus.
â€œWe have been responding to a number of different thefts that have been occurring on campus and one of the sightings a couple of weeks ago identified the suspect as being on campus before, Marima Simmons,â€ Chapa said. â€œToday we got a call for a gentleman matching his description who was involved in previous thefts on campus and the officers identified him and took him into custody at the Coates Center earlier. We were happy we were able to secure him and take him into custody.â€
Chapa also noted the importance of informing the community about safety concerns and the success theyâ€™ve had with this method.
â€œOne of the important tools we have is notifying via email about different crimes on campus and community alerts on campus,â€ Chapa said. â€œThe campus is our eyes and our ears; there are students who are in the student center, in the library, in the Bell Center more than we have officers on patrol. This way we can inform our community about these safety concernsâ€”it was proven to work, as it has before. We’ve had apprehensions in the past that chained from community members notifying us.â€
Regarding on-campus safety, Chapa stressed the importance of students being alert and aware of their surroundings and to work with TUPD.
â€œBe mindful of your surroundings, do not leave your items unattended, these individuals who have come onto campus to commit thefts are opportunists,â€ Chapa said. â€œAlso make sure to inform TUPD about any suspicious activity you see.â€