A freshman University of North Florida student was arrested Tuesday after campus police said a gun was found in his dorm room.
According to the UNF police report, officers were called about 2 a.m. after Shane Kelly, 18, had been pounding on his ex-girlfriend’s door, two rooms away from his room in the Osprey Cove dorms.
Police were told Kelly had recently broken up with the girl and he was pounding so aggressively on her door, people were concerned he was trying to break it down.
Officers found a .357-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun in Kelly’s room.
“When we questioned him about how he obtained it, he said he bought it from a convenience store from some guy on the street for $80,” UNF Police Chief Frank Mackesy said.
Kelly told officers he brought it on campus the previous day. Kelly also told officers “he wasn’t a bad guy and had no intention of hurting anyone” and that “he had been taking prescribed Xanax and drank a couple of beers.”
As to where he got the gun, Kelly “stated that approximately three weeks ago he purchased a firearm (.357 Smith & Wesson revolver) from an unknown black male at a Gate convenience store parking lot for $80.”
“We have no intent, nothing that would indicate at this time that there was any intent for the gun to be used other than for the purpose of personal safety,” Mackesy said.
News4Jax spoke to students around the dorm. Some said they know Kelly and are surprised.
“I don’t know him personally. I’m pretty sure he was my neighbor during the summer,” said UNF student Minnie Cocuzza. “I’m pretty surprised.”
“Why do you say that? What did he appear like?” asked News4Jax’s Scott Johnson.
“I don’t know. I just thought he wouldn’t make a mistake like that,” Cocuzza said.
The incident brings up another issue of guns on UNF’s campus. UNF recently lost a court battle that now allows firearms to be secured in a person’s vehicle on campus, but not in buildings if they have a conceal carry permit. However, that is still being fought in court. That wouldn’t apply to Kelly because he’s not old enough to get a conceal carry permit.
In spite of all this, students said they’re aware the law could change concerning guns.
“I just think that if there’s more guns on campus that’s just how it’s going to be,” said UNF student Zachary Venezio. “It’s going to be harder for the cops to identify the shooter, but it might deter people from bringing guns on campus knowing that there’s going to be guns pointed back.”
Mackesy told News4Jax if the law does change and guns are allowed in buildings, he said they’ll have to change their enforcement procedures on campus.
While gun rights groups are fighting to change the law, it is currently illegal to have a gun on campus outside of a securely locked vehicle.