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Recent Arrest and Campus Safety

This update shares information about two incidents that occurred on Sunday as well as the steps Emory is taking to address community safety.

On Sunday, April 28, the Emory Police Department (EPD) issued criminal trespass warnings to six individuals suspected of committing recent acts of vandalism on campus. This information was released by EPD that day, and EPD confirmed that none of these individuals are affiliated with Emory.

Separately, EPD shared this evening the following statement regarding an arrest later that day:

The Emory Police Department Tuesday announced the arrest of a convicted felon who crossed state lines to come to campus.

EPD arrested Derek Zika, from Statesville, North Carolina, on the Emory Quad Sunday afternoon. He was carrying knives and an Oleoresin Capsicum spray (pepper spray) canister.

He was charged with criminal trespass, obstructing a law enforcement officer, possession of a weapon in a school safety zone, criminal trespass and crossing state lines with weapons, intoxicants or drugs. He was transported to the Dekalb County Jail.

Police obtained a search warrant and inspected Zika’s vehicle Monday evening. Inside the vehicle police found an axe, a hatchet and two knives in a bag with survival gear.

Emory Police Chief Burt Buchtinec thanks community members who alerted the department to the individual being on campus.

We understand that this information comes at a sensitive time. It is our responsibility to communicate the facts that impact community safety as they become available.

We have in place or are taking the following measures to further enhance the safety of our community:

  • We have added more lighting and additional cameras covering key campus locations. These cameras are monitored 24/7 by the Emory Police Department.
  • We have increased officer patrols, the visibility of uniformed officers on campus, and other security measures. These efforts are especially focused on the Quad and are extended to the broader campus.
  • We have limited building entry to individuals with card access.
  • We are working with individual students who have needs related to exams and other academic accommodations.

Emory is continuously working to take appropriate measures to keep our community safe. We depend on a strong collaboration between EPD and other law enforcement agencies. We support their efforts to assist in keeping Emory safe.

We know that potential adverse impacts to Emory Commencement are a shared concern for many members of our community. We look forward to celebrating the Class of 2024 at Commencement and will share details of any necessary changes in future communications.

If you need immediate police assistance, call 911. As always, if you need help on campus, the following resources are available 24/7:

Please remember that Emory has support resources available to assist you.

Emory is providing updates and messages on recent campus events on a dedicated page on our website.

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