Security discussion continues after UMass assault

There has been conversation about security

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass students were ordered to shelter in place for two hours Thursday night, after two men allegedly assaulted a student inside the Pierpont dormitory around 5:15.

UMass freshman Meghan Parson said, “I was in the dorm next to it, so obviously one of my best friends lives there, and it was scary. I mean, I never experienced something like that.”

One of the suspects, 19-year-old William McKeown, surrendered to police in Framingham Friday afternoon. Police were still looking for the second suspect Saturday afternoon. Police said neither are UMass students.

Residence halls on the UMass Amherst campus have 24-hour swipe card security, including at the Pierpont house. But police say McKeown and the other suspect were let in willingly by a UMass student.

One of the suspects hit the victim in the head, possibly with a gun, according to UMass Police Chief Tyrone Parham. No shots were fired. The victim had a minor cut and was treated at Cooley Dickinson Hospital and was released the same night.

Students 22News spoke with said there has been conversation about security.

Parson said, “I don’t know it’s hard to keep track of all that stuff, like a lot of times like in the dorms you just hold the door for the person behind you, it’s common courtesy. I mean you really can’t change that.”

Many students agreed there is only so much the school can do.

Freshman David Walker said, “I feel as though we have enough security. I know some schools they don’t have to check in anywhere, so I think we do a good job. I think that’s just a weird situation to be in.”

McKeown is facing charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, and armed robbery. He will be arraigned at Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown on Monday.

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