By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Just after 1 a.m. September 12, 2008, a security guard heard two gunshots ring out from a parking lot in the southeast corner of campus. From a distance, the guard watched Times stash the rifle under a car.
Times readily admitted to the guard that he "brought the gun to school because he was recently threatened," according to a police report, but he denied firing any shots, and cops never found a witness or a victim. The aspiring embalmer was charged with possession of a weapon on school property. But with his clean criminal record, he was offered a deferred prosecution agreement, and by staying out of trouble for the next year, he would not be prosecuted.
Times was allowed to return to Florida Memorial, where he is currently enrolled. School administrators did not respond to an inquiry about whether they disciplined the vigilante student.
15900 NW 42 Ave.
Opa-locka, FL 33054
Region: Miami Gardens
On your average small liberal-arts college campus, a student bringing a hunting rifle to school to wage war on gangbangers might be considered something of an event. But it's nothing extraordinary at FMU.
Since the Miami Gardens Police Department was incorporated in December 2007, its officers have filed 196 police reports for crimes committed on FMU's campus — almost four times the number reported (56) at its close neighbor to the east, St. Thomas University.
None of the reports provided by MGPD concerns drug crimes, infractions that are usually handled by administrative discipline. And for privacy reasons, the police did not provide reports that were sexual in nature.
In 22 months, there were four reported shootings, including Theodus Times's alleged warning shots and two other weapons violations. There were two armed carjackings and three reports of cars stolen without violence. There were 28 reported assaults, batteries, and fights.
During that same period, there was a rash of thefts, including 28 burglaries at dorms and school businesses and at least one home invasion and several forced entries. At least four groups of students filed reports that their dorm rooms had been pried open with crowbars and their computers and other valuables pilfered.
In total since 1995, including records provided by the Miami-Dade Police Department, there have been 860 campus crimes reported, including 214 assaults, batteries, and intimidations; 110 burglaries; and 38 cars stolen.
"It gets wild out here; you gotta be able to hold your own," explains Jake, who was charged with battery this fall and asks that his real name not be used. Cops said he and another student began brawling over an unreturned greeting. Charges against both fighters were eventually dropped, and Jake says neither was suspended from school. "You're not going to find most of the fights on no police reports."
If the bulk of the fights seem to occur between students, it's clear that at least in some cases, criminals from outside the school are preying on students. Around 4 a.m. September 24, 2008, 24-year-old Troy Clayton and his student girlfriend, 20-year-old Diamone Dunnam, were parked in front of the school in his red Chevy Monte Carlo when a silver four-door car squealed to a stop in front of them. Two young masked gunmen jumped out. "You know what this is!" one demanded. "Get out and lay down!"
They snatched Clayton's wallet, his girlfriend's purse, and even the permitted Ruger .45 he kept stashed under the driver's seat. Then one stick-up kid sped off in Clayton's Monte Carlo while the other followed in the silver car. "We both were shocked, like, This is not real," Clayton remembers. "This is not happening in front of the school."
Three security guards sitting at a front-entrance security checkpoint "less than 200 feet away," according to Clayton, didn't learn of the carjacking until the robbed couple informed them of it. "They told me I was the fourth victim of carjackings that had happened in the same way," he recalls. Although some had occurred a couple of blocks from campus, all involved FMU students. Clayton's robbers were never caught, but cops recovered the abandoned Monte Carlo and the handgun.
"It's hard to say for sure how many of these crimes are perpetrated by students and how much is outsiders coming in," says one Miami Gardens detective who also grew up in the town. "It's probably students stealing from each other, because that's just what people do. But most of the violent stuff is likely perpetrators coming from [Miami Gardens] or Opa-locka, looking for easy pickings."
FMU's vice president for administration, Harold R. Clarke Jr., says he's "not going to speculate" on the source of the crime. "Some of it may be coming, as you say, from outside," he allows and then touts security measures the school is in the process of implementing: 20 new surveillance cameras and a $120,000 front-gate system that will access criminal records from the license plates of visitors to campus. Any nonstudents with rap sheets or outstanding warrants will not be allowed in. "We are very concerned about the safety of our students," he says.
If that state-of-the-art gate can help plug the steady stream of security-related litigation that has plagued the university's administration in the past five years, it will have been a bargain.
LAW 404: Litigation Concerning Stalker- or Mob-Related Injuries
My gosh..."Organized Cause Stalkers" in the flesh. The security guards at FMU have become criminals, and "Organized Mobbers". They remind me of the same scum at the University of Delaware. Bored U.D.scumbags just like FMU, that manufacture crime because they have nothing better to do but sit around and enage in bullying, and mobbing others. Man, I can not imagine trying to study in that type of eviroment. My fear would be too great with those "organized cause stalkers" running around FMU. I would place five locks on my dorm door. They should fire all those security guard "Rent-A-Slops".
No way, blacks are more violent than any other people? And are more prone to harming there own kind? GTFO !
This would be news if everyone here treated each other with dignity and respect. The law of the jungle is what one would expect here and that's exactly what we've got.
Historically black university. The writer waited until the end of the 4th paragraph to reveal this. Even he knows no one would care or would be shocked had he revealed this in the title or the first sentence of the 1st paragraph.
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Wait, you mean there is a higher crime rate in areas that have a black majority? G.T.F.Outta here...
Yeah Florida Memorial has a shady reputation here. I know one of the security guards that works there and he said that he had seen more in 4 years Florida Memorial than in 12 years of truck driving... go figure...
Wow Rausky,I'm glad to see that you know ALL African Americans to be able to affirm that all African Americans hate Cubans! Your statement is as stupid as yourself, and is one of the reasons that this city is so divided. Do yourself a favor, keep your mouth shut when you don't have anything intelligent to say. I am African American and both of my sons have Cuban godfathers. I'm sure I chose them because I hate Cubans. Idiota!
the solution for this trainwreck of a school is to hire 2 or 3 white people, and also a couple of white guards. then they can blame white people for their problems. and that moron fighting with the guards and then filing a lawsuit against them: rodney king, rodney king!!! gimmee some moneyyy! one of the posters on here talked about "why not mention all the crime on white schools" there is NO majority white school in america as bad as this. period. 96% of the students getting financial aid. the school has been sued of 60 times for not paying suppliers. what a trainwreck. instead of suing the school for not protecting you, why not sue the criminal, or better yet, the criminal's parents for raising a thug. and the riot after obama won. that tells a lot. another poster recommmended closing the school and sending the students to other schools. NO THANK YOU. goes to show. you can take the animal out of africa, but you can't take africa out of the animal. just unbelievable. 38% graduation graduation rate. how predictable.
I alsmost agree. Crime isn't that bad, at least on a consistent basis at the school, but when compared to other schools it levels off. No doubt thought, no person on the grounds of a place of higher education wants to feel they may get victimized while just merely trying to learn. Darren Chaker
Scary that students must endure such a hostile environment when they are there to learn and become the future leaders of the nation. Students and faculty must protect themselves the best they can and always be aware of their surroundings. Visit http://www.urbansafetysolution...
Students must take responsibility for their own personal protection because the only one you can expect to rescue you from being another defenseless victim is YOU! http://www.urbansafetysolution...
Good Grief, After reading leo's post, I'd say they should shut the place down for failure to educate, forget the violence! Are these the kind of people we want teaching our children? Is their curriculum even up to standards? Doesn't sound like it. BTW leo - Try taking a course in journalism. The only thing you have in your hand is your .......
Sounds like the best thing to do is shut the zoo down. Spread the students out and place them in other college's. The trouble makers will be weeded out soon enough as their behavior will stand out and they learn that they just plain "aint cool" and aren't going any where.
Please not that the Jay making the comments here is not Jonte Myers....This issue here is not an easy one and it is a serious one..
I currently attend Florida Memorial University and this article is outrages and a lie. Things happen for a reason and you go places Mr. Garcia and see things you want to see them and not they way you should see them. There are always 3 sides to a story and in this case Mr. Garcia, your side, the Universities side and the TRUTH! I know for a fact that the truth is not presented here. All you try to do Mr. Garcia is downgrade African American's and their institutions rather college or religious so you could make your money. I promise if you do not stop, I promise to file a Class Action Lawsuit Against You Mr. Garcia and the Miami New Times for Defamation of Character. Play with it Mr. Garcia, I got you right in my hand.
Karen, what "white" schools??? Last time I checked, the other schools in the miami area are OPEN TO ANYONE who meets the requirements.
Karen, if you would like to point me to any specific local college or university with similar documented problems with crime, I'd gladly look into it.
In the meantime, I'm going to trust the opinions of several students and faculty members who tell me they're glad this article was published.
Did you give white colleges with equal amount of crimes on their campuses the same attention that you seem to be reporting about Florida Memorial University? What's your solution?
If you gays want to move to Miami University or FIU, we cann help you find an apartment in South Florida area.Miami homes and apartments for sale and for rent
Latisha, your perception is supreme. Jay, you are the biggest part of the problem; take a look at yourself and what you said. Oh, and Jay, stay the hell away from schools for all of our sakes.
I'm an alum of FMC and I must say that I'm not surprised. As a student there, one of my sorority sisters was murdered at her job by a fellow student off campus and it was not acknowlwedged by administration at all. In fact, the yearbook staff was brought into one of the administrative offices because they didn't want her death memorialized in the yearbook. After graduation, I attended UM for grad school and there are problems on campus there as well. The difference is, UM goes out of its way to establish communications with students regarding safety and the guards are a constant visible presence on campus. FMU administrators may want to visit other institutions of higher learning to see just what measures are in place to protect students.
JQ, let Alummni Affairs know how you feel. I did. Let them know that the university has to get rid of the bad elements that are ruining it.
As an alumni of Florida Memorial University, I must first say that I love my alma mater with all of its Orange, White, and Blue. However, I can't help but consider how this continuous negative publicity is going to affect my employability and the opportunities available to me, as our student body is not solely comprised of violent glock toting thieves. Our student body is primarily comprised of students who work hard are passionately pursuing their education, and it is my sincere hope that this knowledge is not lost amongst the negative mantra that continues to pervade my institution of higher learning.
Jay, faculty has no power in this matter. Assign blame where it belongs: Administration. They are in charge and chose to do NOTHING about crime on campus.
Well as an actual student of Flo Mo allow me to say shut the fuck up, Karen, because our problems don't need whitewashing. The faculty won't do anything to make our campus safer, and that's a serious problem that needs coverage.
No, I am not employed by the University, and no, I am not Black. I am a concerned citizen who knows about this community and respect the work of all of our institutions. I would say to those who really feel they have reasons to be afraid to consider another institution. There is no way that you can get the most out of the education offered at the University if you are in fear. Also, if you feel that the university is not up to your standards, that too would be a good reason to leave. I hope you find what you need at whatever institution you choose. I am a white female who attended a majority white institution. There was marajuana, cocaine, heroine and LSD used on a regular basis by students, there was theft, vandalism, homocide and rape on my campus during my four years. It just never got such media attention.
#6. Have you taken youe basic Language Arts requirments?What a shame that this Local University has this problem.
karen obviously works for the university and is trying to keep her job...did they write that for you????administrators are taking this place to the crappertime to clean the house
I am very familiar with Florida Memorial University and I know that there are wonderful things that go on on that campus, yet I never see news coverage. Is there a conspiracy to destroy the only Black university in South Florida? It doesn't matter which media reports a story, it is always negative. Please share with the community the fine education that Florida Memorial is providing to low income, first generation college students. Tell the story of how this institution nurture the social and career development of of teacher and other professionals. This institution has literally transformed the lives of so many young people from this community, and its a shame that they get known for negative
it's not just students, faculty and staff are scared toothe trustees better fix this messfire most of the administratorsget rid of the delinquents
I have a friend whose son is studying there on a basketball scholarship.She has told me her son who is black and of Cuban origin has been discriminated and treated like a second class citizen at that university.Her son was forced to sit on the floor of the bus at one of the last basketball games in Northern Florida. I asked why did her son go to that school. She said it was for a basketball scholarship. I told her that afroamericans hate Cubans, even if they're black like them. SHe is also very concerned about the rising campus violence. I wouldn't recommend this university to anyone, noo matter what race.