Crimes worry students at College Suites

Lindsay Kriz

For many WKU students, College Suites is a peaceful gated community.

However, after two incidents over the course of a week, some residents are uneasy.

The first incident — a shooting on Feb. 17 — involved two non-WKU students. Police said Josh Wickware shot Shawn Greene in the stomach before attempting to flee the scene.

The second incident occurred in Apartment 525, where officers responded to a complaint that stated someone had been hit in the head with a beer bottle and was unconscious. Police found University of Kentucky student John Murray with multiple lacerations on his head and his right ear almost cut off.

Glass from beer and liquor bottles was in the trash can, police said, and most of the underage people at the apartment were intoxicated. The assaulter was identified as Russell Springs freshman Garrett Lawless.

Russellville junior Christen Dilliha, a College Suites resident, said she witnessed the scene after the Feb. 17 shooting and has been uneasy since then.

“I was leaving my apartment when it happened,” she said. “I saw a big crowd of people, two ambulances and seven police cars.”

Dilliha said that wasn’t the first time she’s seen or heard crime near her building. She said gunshots were fired in the apartment next to hers this past summer.

“I know nobody’s out to get me,” she said. “But I’m not going to go outside alone at night.”

Dilliha also witnessed a drunk driver slam into her car right outside her window a few months ago and then fail a sobriety test.

“I park my car where nobody will hit it now,” she said.

Beth Hansen, College Suites property manager, said that when it comes to safety, it’s up to each individual.

“I can’t tell you, or anyone can’t tell you what’s going to happen,” she said.

But Hansen said College Suites is overall a safe place. She said the complex has a new gate system in place.

The new gate only lets one car in at a time, and only residents and scheduled guests are allowed the access code. She said some residents also have their own remote for the gate.

A courtesy officer is always on site and available to anyone at anytime, Hansen said.

“You take the same precautions you would on campus, like keeping your door locked,” she said. “I can tell you we take every precaution that we can.”

Hopkinsville junior Miranda Visser said that while the news about the recent violence made her wonder how safe College Suites is, it won’t stop her from moving there this summer.

“It makes me unsure,” she said. “It obviously feels a little less safe.”

Visser, however, said that it seemed like an isolated incident.

“Violence happens everywhere,” she said. “It happens on and off campus. And  Bowling Green is a decent-sized city.”

Wickware was charged with second degree fleeing or evading police and is waiting to go before a Warren County Grand Jury, said Monica Woods, public information officer with BGPD. He may face more charges later in connection with the shooting.

Lawless was charged with assault and is still in Warren County Regional Jail at this time with a bond set at $100,000, according to the jail.