WMU mourns student Jacob Jones, who was victim of off-campus shooting

Contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News

Photo of a police cruiser.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The homicide Dec. 8 of a Western Michigan University student in an off-campus apartment has left the WMU community reeling.

The 19-year-old student died in a shooting at the SoHo 700 apartments on Howard Street near the WMU campus. Two male suspects are being sought by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, which has jurisdiction in that area and is leading the investigation. Both KDPS and the WMU Department of Public Safety responded to the initial report of a shooting received at 10:28 p.m.

The victim was Jacob Jones, a freshman from Onsted, Michigan, who first enrolled at WMU for the spring 2016 semester. A transfer student from Olivet College, he was majoring in exercise science. Earlier reports noted his age as 20. He would have turned 20 later this month.

Counseling professionals at WMU's Sindecuse Health Center will be available to work with friends and classmates of the victim, and the University will reach out to assist the student's family.

WMU President John M. Dunn is traveling internationally, but was informed of the shooting via phone messages in the early morning hours of Dec. 9. He is returning to Kalamazoo. After learning of the tragedy, he issued a short statement, noting "the WMU community is stunned by the realization that a promising life as been lost." The complete text can be found at wmich.edu/president.

The shooting did not trigger a WMU Alert. Officers arriving on the scene immediately determined that the crime was not a random act. The suspects were known individuals, and they had already fled the scene, so there was not a continuing threat.

According to WMU Public Safety Chief Scott Merlo, relaying that information would not have had an impact on safety, but could have impeded the investigation.  In addition, he notes, the WMU Alert system is configured to convey warnings about imminent threats within the physical borders of the campus.