The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

BREAKING: Campus security officer accidentally leaves gun unattended in Blair bathroom

The gun has been confiscated.
Josh Rehders
Blair School of Music, as photographed on Oct. 8, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

UPDATED: This piece was last updated on Sept. 3 at 1:15 p.m. CDT. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the owner was allegedly a VUPD officer; the owner is a third-party campus security officer.

An unattended handgun was found in a Blair School of Music bathroom on the evening of Sept. 2 at approximately 9:15 p.m. CDT. Upon investigation, the weapon was identified as belonging to a campus security officer who accidentally left the gun on the toilet seat after using the bathroom.

Senior Will Parrack said he spoke to a VUPD officer on the scene about the incident, saying the officer referred to the situation as a “very, very bad mistake.” According to Parrack, the VUPD officer with whom he spoke stated that the gun was identified via serial number as belonging to another VUPD officer. However, a statement from VUPS emailed to The Hustler at 10:20 a.m. CDT on Sept. 3 reads that the gun belonged to a third-party contracted CSO.

VUPS declined to comment on whether the gun was loaded when found and on repercussions the officer will face, if any. The statement states that a follow-up investigation regarding the situation is currently ongoing.

“VUPS located the weapon and was able to return it to the registered owner,” the statement reads. “Further, VUPS has determined the registered owner, a third-party contract security staff member, possessed no criminal intent in this matter.”

Sophomore Nathaniel York found the gun, and students immediately reported the incident to VUPD. He also shared an image of the gun with other Blair students in a GroupMe, to which students responded with fear and concern. The image shows that a magazine was in the gun. 

“There were a few of us practicing on the second floor who didn’t know what to do,” Parrack said. “In our Friday recital period yesterday, there was a school-wide assembly and we spent an hour and a half talking about safety — run, hide, fight. I’m glad that we had the safety demonstration yesterday with an officer, as that informed our decisions about what to do in that scenario.” 

Parrack added that he felt there was a lack of communication about the incident, causing students to be left in the dark about the situation. 

“The lack of widespread communication by AlertVU or something telling all Blair kids that it was a mistake is concerning,” Parrack said. “The only form of communication at all was between us students in the Blair group chat.”

The incident comes less than a week after a campus shooting at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill on Aug. 29 in which one faculty member died.

This piece will be updated as more information becomes available.

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About the Contributors
Rachael Perrotta
Rachael Perrotta, Former Editor-in-Chief
Rachael Perrotta ('24) is from Cranston, R.I., and majored in cognitive studies, political science and communication of science and technology and minored in gender and sexuality studies in Peabody College. She was also previously Senior Advisor and News Editor. If she's not pressing you for a comment, she's probably trying to convince you that she's over 5 feet tall, cheering on the Red Sox or wishing Nashville had a beach. She can be reached at [email protected].
Brina Ratangee
Brina Ratangee, Editorial Director
Brina Ratangee ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in medicine, health & society and neuroscience. She previously served as News Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, she enjoys trivia nights, solving NYT crosswords and biking around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Emily Gonçalves
Emily Gonçalves, Former Multimedia Director
Emily Gonçalves (‘20) was the Multimedia Director of the Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Mathematics and Economics and minored in Latin American Studies. When she’s not taking photos, you can catch this Jersey girl making puns, singing, advocating for girls’ education and drinking lots of chocolate milk and espresso!
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Former Photography Director
Josh Rehders ('24) is from Houston and is studying computer science in the School of Engineering. When he is not shooting for The Hustler, Vanderbilt Athletics or freelancing, he enjoys finding new music and good food. He can be reached at [email protected].
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