University News

A Message to the WIU Community from Interim President Abraham

September 18, 2020

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Dear University Community,

I know that updates have been shared through our emergency alert system, on our home page and through social media over the last few days regarding the incident that took place on our campus Tuesday evening, but I wanted to reach out to our community personally. I have sent similar communication to the parents of our students as they, rightfully so, have been worried and concerned over what unfolded on our Macomb campus.

We cannot share further updates regarding the student who was shot. His family has asked for privacy during this time, and we are respecting their wishes. We are in contact with them, and we ask that you send well wishes to him, his family, and friends for a full recovery.

Our Office of Public Safety continues to work with local, state and federal agencies to conduct a thorough investigation of the events that transpired Sept. 15. I would like to thank our Office of Public Safety for their swift response to Thompson Hall, and their continuing work not only on this investigation, but also for their efforts in keeping all of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors safe. Our local agencies, as well as those from neighboring communities, and state and federal officials, certainly lent much needed assistance, and their response was critical in the search for the suspect.

To our students – those in Thompson Hall and other residence halls, and those who live off campus – thank you for your strength, patience, and understanding. Those who live in Thompson were displaced for several hours on Tuesday evening through the early morning hours of Wednesday before being allowed back into their home. I want to thank Dominos for providing pizza and Sodexo and HyVee for providing water for the students during their displacement.

As many of you may be aware, the suspect turned himself in to a Chicago Police Department precinct Wednesday afternoon. He remains in the custody of the CPD and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, who assisted in the search for the suspect.

As we speak about the suspect, it is important to recognize this is a distressing situation for his friends and family, and we extend our thoughts to them as well. For two families, this incident affected them deeply and directly.

To our faculty and staff, thank you for your patience and understanding as we made the decision to cancel classes and close campus. Thank you also for being patient with your students, some of whom may have been indirectly involved as witnesses and residents of Thompson Hall, and others across campus who may be experiencing strong emotions due to this incident.

I would also like to extend my appreciation to the many counselors, housing and dining staff, facilities management personnel, uTech staff, city and county officials, and many others who were on site for many hours to ensure our students' needs were met, and who continued to work throughout the evening and into the next day to provide services and support.

Finally, to all of our faculty, staff, and students who may be experiencing strong emotions as a result of this experience, I encourage you to talk about this amongst yourselves, and also know that our counseling center staff is there to support you. Our counselors are experienced professionals who are trained to help people through trauma and they stand ready to assist. The University Counseling Center can be reached by calling (309) 298-2453, and all services are free and confidential. This is a shared experience, and we will heal together.

Take care,

Martin Abraham
Interim President, Western Illinois University

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations