After a shooting that occurred only several feet from residential halls at the College of William & Mary, the school’s campus police chief refused to admit that the incident had ties to gangs that occupy nearby neighborhoods in Williamsburg, Virgina.
Despite the report from the campus police chief, the school’s newspaper, The Flat Hat, revealed that the shooting was the result of gang violence that several police departments had been looking to quell for years.
The student newspaper’s comprehensive investigation involved an analysis of “dozens of public records” and other public documents, all of which tied two gangs, both which have roots in nearby Williamsburg, to the shooting.
The shooting at The Crust fits into a pattern of escalating violence between two gangs, both with roots in Williamsburg, which are known to commit crimes such as shootings, witness intimidation, drug trafficking and homicide.
The gangs, which refer to themselves as 143 and Centerville after the neighborhoods they are based in, have been feuding for years.
Without mentioning his relationship to one of the Williamsburg gangs, local police named a suspect, John Johnson, on August 29, stating that he turned himself into authorities two weeks following the shooting.
Although Williamsburg Police claimed that they had no knowledge of Johnson’s gang ties at the time of his arrest, the report from the school’s student newspaper claims that extensive court documents reveal his ties to the local gang scene.
Investigators at The Flat Hat are still seeking documents from another local police station that contain information regarding Johnson’s gang ties, but open record laws in the state of Virginia do not require police departments to hand over information containing criminal intelligence.
Open records laws do not require police departments in Virginia to provide documents containing criminal intelligence, though those departments may do so voluntarily. Both of the gangs whose members were at The Crust the night of the shooting are identified as gangs in multiple court documents available at the Williamsburg James City Courthouse.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org