The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Sunday March 3rd

Seven TCNJ students struck by pellet guns in Campus Town

A still from a security camera showing the van and two suspects of the incident (Photo courtesy of Campus Police).
A still from a security camera showing the van and two suspects of the incident (Photo courtesy of Campus Police).

By Briana Keenan
News Editor

Seven students from the College were struck by pellets in Campus Town on the night of Jan. 21 but did not require medical attention. The perpetrators were in a white van traveling south on the main boulevard.

Two of the students, who requested anonymity for their safety, said that they were leaving Panera and walking to RedBerry when they were struck. After crossing the street by the urgent care in Campus Town, both students were hit, with the van driving parallel to them on the street in the same direction they were walking.

“I suddenly felt something hit my forehead,” one of the students said. “I just stopped in my tracks and was like, ‘what?’” 

One student was struck in the middle of their forehead and left side of their face and the other student was struck on their lower left cheek, almost by their chin. 

“I could definitely hear [the shooting] a couple times because that’s what alerted me to look up,” the second student said. “I thought it sounded like a rattling noise; that’s what made me alarmed in the first place.”

Right after being struck, the second student called the police. The first student said that they tried to make out a license plate, weapon or follow where the vehicle went, but it was difficult since the vehicle was speeding except for when they were struck. Campus Police met the two students outside of RedBerry about five minutes after they were called. 

“The cops were very helpful,” the second student said. “We talked to a bunch of people about it, but I feel like they were taking it really seriously.” 

The students reported that they primarily interacted with one officer, but four others also met them outside of RedBerry, totaling five responding officers. 

Two details that the students remembered were that there were people hanging outside of the vehicle’s sliding door and that the tip of the weapon was orange. No further details have been revealed by Campus Police about how many people were in the vehicle nor the weapon used. 

“I don’t know what we were hit with,” the second student said. “They searched the ground for any bullets where we were, but they didn’t find any.”

The student also said that Campus Police officers looked a second time and on the other side of the sidewalk, but no pellets were found. However, they later recovered a plastic pellet that “appears to be consistent with those used in Orbeez-type guns,” according to Head Media Relations Officer Luke Sacks. 

To their knowledge, the students did not have any bystanders to the incident. “There were other pedestrians, but I don’t think we reacted enough that anybody really noticed what happened,” the first student said. 

Looking back on what happened, the students said that they felt shocked and confused.

“Bewildered is the word I’ll use,” the first student said. “The police kept asking us questions about identifying the car, but I think both of us were so confused at that moment that we didn’t process what was going on.”

“You don’t expect that, and thank God it wasn’t anything like a serious injury, so that’s why we were able to remain calm about it,” the second student said.  

Any student with information regarding the incident can contact Campus Police at 609-771-2345.


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