Criminal justice sophomore arrested on campus for unlawful open carry


Bradley Wilson

Nathan Martinez, mass communication sophomore, and Tyler George, criminal justice sophmore, at the Pierce Residence Hall Throwback Game night Sept. 29.

Wichita Falls County Sheriff’s office inmate roster
Screenshot of Tyler George’s booking information from the Wichita Falls County Sheriff’s office inmate roster.

Updated March 6

Tyler George, 22, criminal justice sophomore, was arrested on campus March 4 in Mavericks Corner located in the Clark Student Center.

Campus police responded to a call about George shortly after 11 a.m. They were given his description and were told that he was in possession of a handgun. George took down a gun-free zone sign from Prothro-Yeager. He then walked to Clark Student Center and had lunch at Maverick’s corner where he was later arrested by university police.

Chief of Police Patrick Coggins said, “So, university police responded to that call and we later located that individual who was openly carrying a handgun in a holster on his belt and in possession of our sign from our building. We later located him in Maverick’s corner in the CSC (Clark student center) where he was at that time placed under arrest for theft of our sign, violation of the penal code, several sections of the penal code, for possessing a firearm.”

Coggins said this was a violation of both state law and university rules.

“We received this report second hand… Obviously, if someone saw a gun on this person, that’s a violation of both state law and university rule or university policy regarding handguns on campus,” Coggins said.

After his arrest, George was transported to the county jail.

Coggins said, “We obviously don’t have any holding facilities here so we transport all our arrested persons down to the county jail. So, yesterday immediately after the arrest, after we spoke to him here at the police department, he was transported to the Wichita County Jail where he was booked on those three charges and it was relatively quick.”

George has a bond of $6,548 for his three charges.

The charges against him were: unlawful carrying of a handgun by a license holder, carrying a weapon in a place where weapons are prohibited and theft, for the theft of the sign.

“Those were the three charges, he was arrested for and booked into jail on,” Coggins said.

Jaden Allen, criminal justice freshman, talked to George at lunch in Mavericks Corner.

Allen said George told him he tore down the poster by the restrooms in PY. He also said he asked George if he would get in trouble for having his gun.

“It happened in Maverick’s Corner. First, it was at the front where you chose what you want to eat… I saw the gun on his hip and I had asked him, ‘Are you gonna get in trouble for that?’ and then he said, ‘No, I shouldn’t because I have a gun license.’ I was like okay, ‘it just feels a little weird because you have it out and people can see it.'”

George allegedly pulled a knife out and was playing with it before police arrived.

Allen said, “[I] was sitting at the top and he was sitting at the bottom with his friend… He had a knife with him but he pulled it out before the police showed up. He started playing with it and I saw him like waving it around.”

Although George was arrested, there was no campus alert sent out to inform students about the incident.

In a follow-up email, Coggins said they did not send out an alert because it was determined that George was not a threat to campus.

On Tuesday afternoon the university issued a statement via Twitter about the situation.

George bonded out and was released from Wichita County Jail March 5.

Although he was released on bond he will still have to undergo a disciplinary hearing through the university. Through this hearing, university officials will decide what disciplinary action will be taken.

A screenshot from Twitter of Midwestern State University’s statement regarding the incident.

University President Suzanne Shipley said, “He will be put through the student disciplinary process, so I do not know what the consequences will be.”

Shipley said she and Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Keith Lamb are in the process of finding a better way to inform students of non-threatening actions that they may want to know about.

Shipley said, “What I’ve asked our student affairs folks and our police to go back and track is ‘what is the process when there is no threat what-so-ever, but you have a person who is not following the rules? What should our steps be?’ Because the only time we are supposed to alert the campus about something is when there’s a threat and if you start alerting the campus to things and there isn’t a threat people will stop paying attention to your alerts.”

Shipley said in this case there was no threat, just a person who mistakenly was carrying a gun that should have been concealed.

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