"Crime Scene" by Alan Cleaver is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Shepherd officials and students on town manhunt Thursday

Shepherdstown, W.Va.,- A fugitive on the run was apprehended by U.S. Marshals at Shepherd University on Thursday evening.

At 6:48 p.m., Shepherd sent out a RAVE alert that police were searching for a “homicide suspect” near campus. One hour later, the University sent another alert that the suspect had been arrested.

According to the Herald-Mail, 30-year-old Desmond Davis was found by law enforcement underneath the bleachers at the University baseball field.

The baseball field is located on west campus, which is the side of campus where residential buildings are located. Miller Hall, Shaw Hall and Thacher Hall are next to the field.

Bleachers at the SU baseball field. 

Davis was wanted by authorities in Berkeley County and Frederick County, Maryland on drug and robbery charges and warrants on failure to appear in court, the Herald-Mail reported.

Davis was not wanted for homicide, as originally reported by the RAVE alert.

Holly Frye, Vice President for Student Affairs, sent an email to students that the alert was in correspondence with emergency communications.

“On the evening of Feb. 11, the Jefferson County Communications Center advised all area law enforcement of a BOLO for a ‘possible murder suspect’ sought by U.S. Marshals.” Frye said. “To our knowledge, no modification of the nature of the BOLO was made at any time prior to the arrest.”

A BOLO alert means to “be on (the) lookout (for).”

Frye said the Shepherd University Police Department responded to the BOLO alert but was not the agency that ultimately arrested Davis. Frye’s email did not mention that Davis was arrested by U.S. Marshals on the campus.

“The University RAVE alert directly addressed the information dispatched to all law enforcement agencies,” Frye said. “The University did not originate the BOLO alert; SUPD responded to it and assisted in the search.”

Shepherd student Alyssa Roush said she acknowledges why the RAVE alert may have been confusing to some. Roush said that overall she was thankful to be informed about the situation and was not concerned with smaller details, such as jurisdiction involved.

“I appreciated receiving the updates about the ongoing situation and when the situation was resolved,” Roush said. “Who to credit the resolution to wasn’t my concern, the updates were. I think Shepherd did a great job in handling that communication.”

Shepherd student Amber Duvall said the RAVE alert made her nervous.

“When we received the email and RAVE alerts, it threw my roommates and I into a slight panic, and there was no warning or precautions set besides telling us to stay inside,” Duvall said. “It was weird not knowing where this suspect was at on campus, if he was, which felt a little unsafe.”

Kevin Stubbs, a Food Lion dairy manager, said he believes Davis came into the grocery store Thursday evening.

“We got told to look out for a taller guy wearing a white hoodie,” Stubbs said. “I was off in aisle one when the front end saw someone with the description. He went around asking to use people’s phones and saying he was ‘empty.’”

Duvall said she wishes the University would have done more than send out a RAVE alert. Duvall said she was hoping Shepherd would deploy officers to stand at the entrances of campus residential buildings.

“I think they should have done something more than just an email or brief statement to students, like have a Shepherd cop outside the buildings for residents, because who would have been there for us if the suspect was around?” Duvall said.

On the other hand, Roush said she believes the RAVE alerts do a sufficient job at updating students about safety concerns.

“As a current student who has lived through both the safety boxes and the RAVE alerts, I think the RAVE alerts do a great job of relaying safety information in an exceptional amount of time,” Roush said.

The RAVE alert advised students to always “be cautious around unknown individuals and keep buildings locked.”

Students can log in to RAVE via the link: https://www.getrave.com/login/shepherd.

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