Fifth Third shooting leaves 3 dead

Shooter killed and two also wounded in the attack 13 minutes from campus

Photo courtesy of CNN | Officers respond to the Fountain Square shooting on Sept. 6. The gunman, Omar Santa-Perez, entered the loading dock of the Fifth Third bank and opened fire. He killed three and left two wounded before being killed in a shootout with the police. Currently the motive for the shooting is unknown.

There was an active shooter reported at the Fifth Third Bank branch in Fountain Square plaza about 13 minutes away from Xavier’s campus on Sept. 6.

At around 9:10 a.m., the gunman, Omar Santa-Perez, entered the loading dock of the bank and opened fire.

In fewer than five minutes, three people were killed and two others were wounded. Both of the wounded people have been released from the hospital.

The motive for the shooting is currently under investigation. Perez had no know connection to Fifth Third or to any of the victims, all of whom have been identified.

It is unclear whether or not Santa-Perez was voluntarily committed to a mental health institution after a Florida court order in 2010.

On two occasions, Santa-Perez’s mother and sister had argued in court that was “was violent and mentally ill.”

According to Florida law, if he was involuntarily admitted to a mental health institution, his name would have been reported to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

However, because of reliance on local officials to report names, large volumes of names and human error, not every name is added correctly.

The FBI has not confirmed whether or not Perez was added to the NICS.

Santa-Perez was also killed in a shootout with police officers. Santa-Perez was believed to be carrying a 9mm semi-automatic pistol with several hundred rounds of ammunition.

The handgun was purchased legally on Aug. 2 at a Shoot Point Blank indoor shooting range in the Cincinnati area.

When first year Xavier student William Rath first heard about the shooting, he was extremely “disappointed and upset. I have never really felt that Cincinnati was a safe city, even before I got here,” he said prio to coming to Xavier, he had always heard that “Cincinnati is a very dangerous city.”

However, Rath thought that although areas seem dangerous outside of Xavier, he feels “very safe on campus.”

“Anything can happen,” Rath said “This is why Xavier tries to prepare us in case something does happen. Nothing can truly prepare you for a shooting. (I) hope Xavier will never face a situation like this.”

Xavier Police Lieutenant Kenneth Grossman recommends that in the event of an active shooter, students follow the implemented run, hide, fight plan. The best way to “avoid being the victim of an active shooter, is to not be where the shooter is (and to not) go where the shooter goes,” he said.

“If you cannot run, secure yourself in a safe place, and if absolutely necessary, fight back.”

Grossman does not believe that the events should cause any concerns with students.

However, he said that “students should be aware of their surroundings at all times”, and that if you notice something abnormal report it to police.

Grossman said that “if you see something, say something. It only takes seconds for a situation to evolve into something dire.”

By: Sierra Ross | Guest Writer