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Students, officials speak out about gun violence

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Gun violence is becoming a frequent headline in Huntington this spring.

A man was shot Wednesday near the Speedway on Third Avenue in what police said was an isolated incident.

Marshall University students and Huntington residents are beginning to notice a pattern.

Jim Terry, director of public safety at Marshall, said shootings near campus are a rarity but are becoming more frequent.

Terry offered advice on how to react if a similar situation happens nearby.

“Call 911, first off,” Terry said. “Don’t run out to the scene. After you make that phone call to local law enforcement, just be a good witness. You have to keep yourself safe. Let law enforcement handle it.”

Sgt. Scott Ballou, Marshall police officer and lead R.A.D. instructor, said campus is very safe, but anybody could be the victim of a crime.

“They just need to pay attention to where they’re at and who they’re with,” Ballou said. “If they see something, it’s best not to interact. The best option for them is to call 911. We teach our students to give a good suspect description and just get as much information as they can, so they can relay that to the dispatcher.”

Ballou and Terry said as long as residents are “not directly involved with drug activity” they are not at risk as much as someone who is.

There were two fatal shootings in March followed by a string of shootings in the last two weeks.

Kara Callison, senior psychology major, said she is preparing herself for the worst.

“I’m actually taking the steps to get my concealed weapons permit,” Callison said. “I’ve been recently looking at guns. I’m looking for something that I can conceal on me, and being a female and wearing tighter fitted clothes, that is limited.”

Callison said she has learned it is not a one-step process and protection comes at a cost.

“I have to take the concealed weapon class which costs about $50,” Callison said. “And I have to go to the sheriff’s station for a background check which costs another $50. If that goes through successfully, I apply for the permit and pay for my concealed weapon license. It’s definitely a costly thing.”

Ballou advised those who do possess weapons, to be responsible.

“If you have a weapon and you take it out, there’s a couple of things you need to make sure of,” Ballou said. “One: you’re willing to use it because if you’re not willing to use it, they can use it on you. Really you need to know how to use it because if you’re not able to or not willing to, that’s a bad combination.”

Tyler Ferris can be contacted at [email protected]

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