Parent Learns About Shooting at Commons When Moving in Daughter

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

Some students are returning to Harrisonburg for a new semester.

Some are moving back into an apartment complex where a murder happened less than three weeks ago.

Some returning residents said they feel safe living in that complex and others are still concerned about their safety.

That's why they are using precaution at the Commons.

While the current residents are aware of the shooting, the parent of a new resident just learned about it on Saturday.

Kathleen Butler helped her daughter move into the Commons on Saturday.

"We drove down and we hope to get her established and set up," Butler said.

However she said it has been tough to say goodbye and to not be worried about her daughter being on her own for the first time.

That's why Butler gave her a piece of advice.

"I'll just be reminding her to be very vigilant and you know coming and going. It's just very different in a college town and where we are from," Butler said.

During the interview with WHSV, Butler became uneasy about leaving her daughter at the Commons.

This is after WHSV's Estephany Escobar told her about the shooting that took place at the Commons on December 23.

"There was a shooting down in the last building," Escobar said.

"At the commons?" Butler said.

"At the commons," Escobar said.

"Oh OK," Butler said.

"So it seems like you didn't know," Escobar said.

" No I was not aware of that and I wasn't told that either," Butler said.

She said she can't believe the management didn't tell her or her daughter.

"There's shootings all over. Look what happened in Connecticut but she is living here. Yeah she has the right to know," Butler said.

Shelby McCormack who moved back into the Commons found out about it right after it happened.

She said she got emails from the James Madison University and the management at the Commons.

"I think in general, I feel pretty safe. My roommates and I do pretty well locking our doors, not going out by ourselves," McCormack said.

She said she saw more police in the area before leaving for break.

"I feel that the commons are trying to do everything they can to increase security around here," McCormack said.

Butler said she would have felt better if she knew before.

"Now I'm gonna be worried even more," Butler said.

Harrisonburg Police said it's common for them to patrol college housing when students are gone.

The company that runs the Commons said it now has non-stop security there.

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