Earlier this month, students received a series of emails about crime that had occurred in and around campus, detailing a homicide in Sylvan Park and an arrest in the Armacost Library. It began last Monday, Jan. 15 when students were notified via email that a shooting had occured in Sylvan Park on Sunday evening.
The next day, students were notified, again via email, that a “transient” had been arrested by the Redlands Police Department (RPD) inside the Armacost Library on the charges of criminal trespass and resisting arrest. In an interview with the Redlands Bulldog, Officer Raul Durant would later explain that he was coming in and sleeping in the library.
“He had a conflict with a couple of the P-safe officers, and he became really confrontational and wanted to become violent,” explained Durant. “P-safe called the RPD and he fought with the police. They arrested him, and as soon as he got out of jail he came back to the library. The police were called again, but he left before they got there. The police told P-safe to watch for him for 2 weeks, to make sure he didn’t come back. He’s not a real danger to the students or the staff, it’s just that he wants to come and sleep [in the library].”
The individual arrested was not named, but was given an identifying description, and Public Safety implored any students to contact them if they saw a person that matched the following description:
- Caucasian male, age 22, average build
- Beard and mustache
- Eye glasses
- Disheveled appearance
- Black/dark hoodie and/or “Superman” shirt, khaki cargo pants
- Loud, possibly angry-sounding vocal behavior
University of Redlands freshman Braxton Taylor, who works in the library said that his boss sent him a picture of the man arrested and instructed him to contact Public Safety should he be seen.
University of Redlands senior, Swezna Thapa shared how the arrest changed her perspective on study space.
“For the second floor of the Armacost Library, that’s pretty scary,” said Thapa. “That just tells me I should not be in the library for that long.”
Two days later on Thursday Jan. 18, a third email told students that the RPD had issued a news release about the homicide. This news release stated that two individuals, David Alex Gonazles and Jasmine Gonzales, both 18 years old and from the city of Redlands, were arrested at 2 a. m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17 on charges of murder and conspiracy, with the RPD searching for a third suspect. The victim was 47-year-old Santos Bonilla, who was pronounced dead at Loma Linda University Medical Center. None of these individuals are thought to have any connection with the University of Redlands. The news release stated that “anyone with additional information on the incident is asked to contact Redlands Police Dispatch at (909) 798-7681.”
“I think that they are doing what they can,” said Taylor. “I saw that they were putting up signs on the door the other day.”
The signs Taylor was referring to were fliers posted on the doors of the library with the above description of the transient, encouraging students to report him to public safety, had they seen him.
When asked about how Public Safety was handling the crimes, Taylor shared, “I don’t feel unsafe; I just feel unaware.”
“I don’t really see another way to handle it. Because our campus is an open campus and there is nothing that gates us off. They can only do so much,” said Thapa. “I think a lot of crime happens around the Brockton apartments… I would not want to live there. To know that crime is happening more towards campus is a little surprising.”
University of Redlands junior, Josh Gonzalez was unaware that the shooting and the arrest had transpired.
“That’s some pretty scary stuff. It never really occurred to me how close [crime was] to happening,” shared Gonzalez. “I always feel safe. I always leave my stuff around. If I need to go to the bathroom I don’t feel the need to pack my stuff up. I’ve always felt very safe on this campus.”
Officer Durant concluded by saying,“We’ll reevaluate on Thursday and Friday, and we haven’t had any incidents, so I’ll think we’ll be good.”
Photos contributed by Redlands Bulldog photographer Miracle Carciaga.