Fatally wounded man left on Theta Chi parking lot


Henry Bendon

Police have launched a homicide investigation after a man was found fatally wounded in the Theta Chi fraternity house’s parking lot.

An unidentified man was found fatally shot in the parking lot just outside the Case Western Reserve University Theta Chi fraternity house on Magnolia Drive the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 19. Police say that the shooting happened on East 105th Street and Superior Avenue, and a homicide investigation is underway.

Shortly after 2:30 p.m., a Buick Enclave with Michigan license plates dropped the man’s body in the lot, the CWRU Division of Public Safety stated. The incident was reported to the police, and once the University Circle Police Department (UCPD), Cleveland Police Department (CPD) and the CWRU Police arrived on the scene, Cleveland EMS took the man to University Hospital (UH). He did not survive.

Vice President of Student Affairs Lou Stark expressed sympathies to the family and friends of the victim.

“We are also very grateful for the quick and thorough action of all of the agencies that responded to the scene,” he said.

The Division of Public Safety informed the campus community on the incident through a series of security alerts, which were issued as the situation unfolded.

“The Division of Public Safety and University Marketing and Communications revisited their protocols regarding security alerts in the spring of 2017, in response to concerns students raised in the wake of the so-called Facebook killer shooting on Easter Sunday,” the Division of Public Safety said in a statement to The Observer. “The alerts issued Monday, Feb. 19 reflected this approach.”

At 2:57 p.m., a security alert was issued, warning individuals to avoid the location after an “incident” occurred, and that police were on the scene. Another alert was issued at 3:01 p.m., clarifying that no threat was posed to the campus community, but to continue avoiding the area.

Over one hour later, at 4:28 p.m., another alert stated that the scene remained under investigation, and that “an individual in a vehicle who had suffered an apparent gunshot wound was left in the parking lot behind Theta Chi fraternity house. The vehicle then left the scene, and the wounded individual was transported by ambulance to an area hospital.”

The final alert, which was released at 5:27 p.m., confirmed that police cleared the scene, and that individuals could return to the area. It also reaffirmed that the victim was not a member of the campus community.

Second-year student Henry Bendon, a reporter for The Observer and member of Delta Tau Delta, was near the situation when it happened, and spoke with individuals on the scene. According to Bendon, two Delta Tau members interacted with both the driver of the car and the victim.


Second-year Bobby Bruno, who, according to Bendon, applied pressure to the victim’s wound, said, “It looked like [the victim] was shot in the lower back.”

Bruno said that an SUV pulled into the Theta Chi parking lot, which is adjacent to Delta Tau Delta, and the driver asked him for the address. Bruno heard the men call 911, went inside to obtain a first aid kit and two minutes later, when he returned outside, the man’s body was left lying on the ground.

A Theta Chi undergraduate student and Theta Chi chef attempted to “stem the bleeding,” as Bendon reported, by wrapping the victim’s wound with towels. Third-year Delta Tau Delta member Clancy Mitchell, Bruno and the two Theta Chi members then called EMS.

“By the time I reached the scene,” Bendon said, “there were at least six police officers in the Theta Chi house, and although all they would confirm was that a shooting had taken place and that the victim had been dropped off on campus, the presence of a homicide detective and the apparent existence of a similar scene at East 105th and Superior leaves a lot of questions as to whether the events were related.”

The university confirmed that the Division of Student Affairs visited those who live in Greek housing near the scene later in the day. Additionally, they “[checked] on how the students were feeling and [reminded] them of the availability of walk-in counseling services.”

Stark also said that the university encourages “any student who would like to talk to someone about their reactions to the incident to contact University Health and Counseling Services.”

In ensuring public safety, Executive Director of Public Safety Frank Demes said the campus community has a number of resources to use in face of situations like this.

“The first and most important advice that [the Division of Public Safety] can offer is [to] make choices that enhance your safety, starting with being aware of your surroundings at all times,” he said.

Demes said these choices range anywhere from simply walking in groups to utilizing the Safe Ride service if campus shuttles are unavailable. He specifically emphasized, though, reporting suspicious activities through the CWRU Shield app.

He said, “Please remember, we rely on information and reports from our community to better serve you.”