Hate Crime Investigation - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Carbondale, IL

Hate Crime Investigation

Hate Crime Investigation
By:  Arnold Wyrick

Carbondale, IL -- SIU police are looking for the person, or persons who ransacked a students dorm room in Wright Hall. Their investigation began after SIU freshman Michael McDonnell returned home on the evening of September 24th. McDonnell found his room in shambles, his VHS tape collection shattered on the floor, and anti-homosexual slurs scribbled on the walls and dorm room door.

"I believe it happened. It happens everywhere. And I believe students are more susceptible to be more cruel to gays. Because the way they were brought up," says SIU student Brandi Tilley.

But school leaders see no excuse for what happened in McDonnell's dorm room. And say the actions of those who did the damage could be considered two crimes.

"When something like this happens there are certain indicators that the police officers use to classify the incident, one that involved bias, or one that could be considered a hate crime," says Sue Davis SIU Media & Communications.

"It is being considered an incident that bias is apparent, and that it could be considered a hate crime."

Now some students want the university to do more then just investigate the crime.

"I think they should increase awareness. They should have different programs putting out little awareness on the different things that are happening to gay people," says SIU student Chris Geldrnick.

"I don't believe there's much that can be done except as time goes on maybe awareness will increase and people will accept each other for who they are," says SIU student Corey Brooks.

Meanwhile McDonnell has moved out of Wright Hall and into another dorm room on campus.

And school leaders say if they can catch who did the damage to his belongings and room there could be serious consequences.

" That person if they are a student could receive disciplinary action from the Student Affairs Council, and be charged with both state and federal charges," Davis said.

Currently SIU police are questioning anyone who was in, or around Wright Hall on the night in question.

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