A rock and a hard place

Seniors Erik Fagan (left) and Dan McIntosh face potential expulsion for violating GU's weapons policy.

Roommates Erik Fagan and Dan McIntosh, both seniors, may be expelled this week after they used McIntosh’s pistol to repel a late-night trespasser from the doorway of their 207 E. Sinto Ave. apartment. 

Fagan answered a 10:15 p.m. knock on their front door Thursday, Oct. 24. A friend having just left their apartment, he assumed the friend had come back. Instead, John Michael Taylor, a felon who showed them his ankle bracelet tracker in an attempt to intimidate them, faced him. Taylor asked Fagan for money, and became agitated when Fagan turned him down. 

When he sensed Taylor might enter the apartment, Fagan yelled for McIntosh, who brandished his pistol, for which he has a concealed weapons permit. Taylor quickly fled. Little did they know, removing Taylor from their doorway would lead to potential university sanctions. 

Fagan, 21, and McIntosh, 23, rent their two-bedroom off-campus apartment, No. 5, from owner Gonzaga University. Complications arose after the men called both the Spokane Police and CAMPO to report the trespasser, in doing so declaring the pistol to SPD Officer Adam Valdez. SPD quickly apprehended the suspect, who was arrested on outstanding felony warrants. Valdez congratulated the students for safely warding off a possibly dangerous menace. 

But according to the Gonzaga Student Handbook, students may not possess weapons on campus or university-owned property. This clause triggered an early-morning return by CAMPO and a residence director, resulting in the seizure of two guns, including a shotgun owned by Fagan.  This occurred at 2:30 a.m., more than four hours after the initial incident. Director of Security Brian Kenny served the men with hearing notices at 9 a.m. that morning. 

Kenny did not respond to email requests for information. 

The hearing on the alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct is scheduled Friday morning with the University Discipline Board.  

Fagan and McIntosh said they didn’t know about GU’s weapons policy. They said they didn’t realize that rules pertaining to on-campus conduct applied to the Sinto Apartments. 

“They own property all over the place, though,” Fagan said. “Do they retain the right to search anyone on any other property anywhere? We were more than willing to share the information, and didn’t figure that we were going to be getting potentially expelled for it.”

McIntosh said he wasn’t aware of the clause nor had he ever been given a student conduct handbook.

“What they don’t understand, is that this has done nothing but reaffirm why I had [the gun],” McIntosh said. 

Even if someone had alerted him to the zero-tolerance weapons policy, McIntosh said that he wouldn’t have gotten rid of his pistol. 

“I would’ve probably not have lived there,” McIntosh said. “I would’ve moved out … I do not feel safe, because it’s the Logan Neighborhood. It’s not a good place.”

McIntosh said that Taylor had knocked on several doors, but they were the first residents to answer the door. Both men said they are glad that they experienced the run-in with Taylor, rather than more vulnerable residents. 

“Our residence is primarily females,” Fagan said. “I’m thankful for it; because I think it would’ve turned out very differently [otherwise].The girl next to us said that, if her roommate was home, she would’ve answered.”

Taylor’s rap sheet includes six felonies since 2009, the most recent being rioting with a deadly weapon. The assumption that his intrusion could’ve taken a life-threatening turn isn’t hard to imagine. 

“This guy isn’t somebody who needs a gun,” McIntosh said. 

After talking to Valdez with a CAMPO officer present, the roommates said they had a few beers and went to bed. At approximately 2 a.m., two CAMPO officers and RD Justin Muzzi gained entry to the apartment after repeatedly knocking on the door, according to the CAMPO case report. They spotted Fagan’s shotgun propped up against the front door and confiscated it. Walking up the stairs, they opened McIntosh’s door and he fell out of bed. He indicated where his pistol was, and they attempted to remove it from its plastic holder. 

“[They] didn’t even know how to get it out of the holster,” Fagan said. “They were muzzle-flashing Dan as they were trying to get it out of the holster … I was like, ‘For your safety and mine, can we help you unload it?’ ” 

McIntosh was angry, and he feels this anger was justified.

“It feels violating, having someone open your bedroom door,” he said. “Especially after what happened. It’s a really unsettling feeling.” 

In the CAMPO report, McIntosh is characterized as erratic and appearing intoxicated. He called Kenny after the weapons were confiscated, complaining about the incident. McIntosh denied the CAMPO allegations that he was drunk, and said that he called Kenny mistakenly, meaning to call his dad. 

After the incident, McIntosh called Valdez, who directed him toward Crime Check to report the weapons stolen. McIntosh made the call, naming CAMPO as the suspect. 

The next day was a whirlwind of meetings for the two men. They met with Kenny in the morning, who informed them that they had broken GU student policy. They left their names and information with Student Support Services and have yet to hear anything. They received emails from Director of Community Standards Paula Smith at 4 p.m. on Oct. 25. The notice provided them with a date for a hearing, Nov. 8, and charged them with four violations, which included weapons violations, disturbing the peace, and, to the surprise of the two men, violating alcohol policies. 

McIntosh and Fagan take issue with the allegation that they committed an alcohol infraction, but after meeting with Smith, they learned that the four violations are simply factors the board has “questions“ about. 

Backed by a lawyer in the Valley who is providing them with free counsel, the roommates are gearing up for their Friday trial. Valdez is coming in to testify on their behalf, McIntosh said. 

“It’s really hard to think that expulsion could even be considered, but at the same time, they keep bringing it up,” Fagan said. 

If they could go back to that Thursday night, both men wouldn’t have done anything different – save for opening the door. Fagan is thankful that McIntosh was paying attention during his interaction with Taylor.

“When you called my name, you were hoping I was coming around [with my gun], didn’t you?” asked McIntosh. 

“I was definitely hoping,” Fagan said.   

To see GU’s on-campus weapon possession policy, go to: gonzaga.edu/Student-Life