Questions still linger after rifle arrest

Tyler McNeil, Managing Editor

Last Tuesday, Jordan Lourie who was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon and was walked out of the vice president for enrollment management and student development’s office with two Public Safety officers standing by.

“The student is going through the normal judicial and disciplinary process,” said Dennis Kennedy, director of marketing and communications.

According to Article VI of the campus judicial system, “possession of or threats involving weapons or explosives (including knives and firearms)” can receive penalties from the college such as disciplinary suspension, dismissal or expulsion. Lourie’s penalty from college for the Oct. 8 incident has not yet been confirmed.

Popovics, vice president for enrollment management and student development, declined to comment on possible disciplinary actions by the college facing Lourie.

Five days after the incident, Lourie appeared in North Greenbush Town Court and made a plea deal for criminal possession of a weapon according to North Greenbush Town Clerk Kathryn Connolly.

On Oct. 8 at 10:20 a.m., Public Safety officer Steven Denio received a phone call from a student who saw a .22 caliber Mossberg rifle in the backseat of a red 2002 Nissan in the H Lot. The student reported seeing the weapon in the front row facing Williams Rd, before calling Public Safety.

The car’s license plate number, received from the witness, was entered into the department’s database, which located Jordan Lourie through his class schedule.

Public Safety reached out to the North Greenbush Police Department while Lourie was being located. Four unarmed Public Safety officers were dispatched to Lourie’s morning class in the Viking Daycare Center, over 300 feet away from the H Lot.

“There was no incident as a result of this situation. The vehicle was parked and unattended at which time an alert student noticed the rifle in the backseat and immediately reported it to HVCC Public Safety,” said North Greenbush Chief of Police Robert J. Durivage in a statement released to the public.

Moe Olhman, business administration student, heard about the gun arrest through Twitter prior to receiving an email notification from the college. “I went home because you never know what could’ve happened,” said Olhman.

Two officers asked Lourie to step outside the classroom before ordering his arrest. In cooperation with Public Safety, Lourie unlocked his vehicle. Public Safety officers seized the weapon and confiscated the rest of the car. The rifle was reportedly found unloaded and no ammunition was found throughout the rest of the vehicle.

The 27-year-old student was then charged with criminal possession of a weapon, a class E felony. Under the consent of Popovics, Lourie was immediately suspended. Lourie was then sent to Public Safety for further interrogation before being transferred through the North Greenbush Police Department.

Lourie told North Greenbush Police that he went target shooting the previous day and forgot to remove the weapon from his car that day.

“It’s kind of stupid that he just left it out in the open,” said Eileen Lyons, criminal justice student.

Public Safety continued the investigation until later that afternoon. The investigation stopped around 2 p.m.

After being arraigned by North Greenbush Town Justice Megan Malone, Lourie was released later that Thursday.

“I think the fact it seemed so hushed about until later on was not okay,” said Deanna McHeard, individual studies student. A mass email was sent out to students and faculty over two hours after the arrest.  

Classes were not cancelled following the arrest. “We knew there was no clear danger so there was need to disrupt the class schedule,” said Dennis Kennedy, director of marketing and communications.

The incident occurred a week after the Umpqua Community College shooting, which Ben Mojica, liberal arts student, believes accelerated media hype of the incident. “We have this mass hysteria on campus now that somebody is going to bring in a gun and start shooting everyone,” said Mojica.

“I think we took it a little too far to be honest,” said Michael Dibernardo, psychology student, about media interest in the Oct. 8 incident. According to Aliberti, a similar incident involving an unloaded rifle being found in a student’s car occurred in 2009 but the incident received less media coverage.

In 2005, a year before Aliberti took command of Public Safety, a .32 caliber semi-automatic handgun was recovered after a fight broke out in Amstuz Hall.

Over the last five years, the college has had calls with potential threats, gaining media attention. “They’re all unique in their own way but at the same time, they all necessitated an immediate and serious response on our behalf,” said Aliberti.

Three years ago, ex-Student Senate vice president Hassan Murtaza was charged with fourth-degree possession of a weapon.

In 2013, Nick Lemieux was arrested on campus after using social media to imply that he had a bomb in his backpack. After Lemieux posted “You don’t know what’s in my backpack” on Twitter with a bomb emoji, he was immediately taken out of class and later charged with second-degree aggravated harassment by Troy Police.

“When you think about what’s going on around the country and other kinds of incidents with weapons, you start paying a little bit more attention to the world around you,” said Aliberti.

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