Students and Investigators React After FSU Gunman Identified

Posted at 6:21 PM, Feb 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-04 09:16:27-05

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – Just one day after a student was shot at Ferris State University, police say they’ve arrested DeCory Downing, a 20-year-old they believe to be from the Mount Clemens area, with a criminal past that includes assault and disorderly conduct.

Now Downing faces an attempted murder and a felony firearms charge, after police say he opened fire during a fight at an off-campus apartment early Saturday morning.

Police says one student was hit in the arm and stomach; he has already been treated and released from a hospital in Grand Rapids.

“It’s shocking because you don`t think stuff like this would happen in big rapids, especially because we’ve been here for a year previous,” says Samantha Kowalczyk, FSU sophomore.

The Ferris Department of Public Safety says FSU, Big Rapids and Michigan State Police, along with the Mecosta County Sheriff`s Department, responded immediately to notify the community and search for the shooter.

“The University is a huge part of the community here and vice versa. It`s a safe place, we feel safe here, we work hard to make people feel safe here,” says Bruce Borkovich, Ferris DPS director.

Many students say they felt protected and aware of the situation, thanks to text, phone and email alerts that went out about the shooting.

“As soon as we knew what happened, and could get the details together, we sent that message out. It`s real important that there`s not a delay there, we don`t want to wait two hours to send that out. People need to get that information immediately, so that they can take the right precautions and protect themselves,” explains Borkovich.

“Every police agency did an excellent job. I never once felt worried or unsafe about the whole situation,” says Matt Leindecker, FSU senior.

As the investigation continues, both students and staff are encouraging safe practices like using “the buddy system.”

“You have to be safe in who you interact with, it doesn`t matter who they are, you just have to be safe,” says Leindecker.

Ferris officials say the campus plans to resume classes on Monday, as the investigation continues.