ROTC cadet carrying gun falls behind in run, causes scare

K.C. Howard

A lone ROTC cadet sparked concern last week when he became separated from his group during a routine training exercise.

University and Minneapolis police received a report at 6:50 a.m. last Thursday of an unidentified man carrying a high-powered rifle near the lower heating plant road.

The cadet had been on a 4-mile run with nine other cadets. During the endurance exercise, they wear 30-pound packs, camouflage uniforms and carry mock rifles.

“He just fell behind. It was the first day of training, so they have to build up to a certain level,” said Lt. Col. Doug Trenda.

No charges were filed, and ROTC officials said they will inform University police before cadets take to campus roads for future exercises.

In other police news:

a peace pole dedicated to the Sept. 11 attacks was stolen from the University Baptist Church.

The $200 pole was planted last Wednesday, the anniversary of the attacks, at 8:46 a.m., which is the time the first jet struck the first tower.

“May peace prevail on Earth” is written in four languages on each of the four sides of the 8-foot pole.

It stood in front of the church at 1219 University Ave. SE for three days before it was stolen.

The pole existed outside the University Episcopal Center for 13 years and was a recent gift to the Baptist church.

Church officials said they will not press charges and asked anyone with information to call (612) 331-1768.

“We just want it back,” said Rev. Doug Donley, pastor of University Baptist. “Peace is something that is not as popular as it ought to be these days. I really hope it was a prank.”

ïUniversity art department officials believe children between the ages of 8 and 10 years are responsible for three broken windows and two smashed golf carts in the construction area of the new art building on the West Bank.

“They’re kids and they’ve been picking up rocks and having target practice,” said Mark Knierim, facilities and technical coordinator for the art department. “We’re hoping that the vandalism ceases. Everyone is really heavily invested in this building.”

Three large windows worth approximately $1,000 each were smashed with golf ball-sized rocks over the last two weeks. The suspects also did more than $500 of front-end damage to two golf carts.

The damage will not delay the opening of the art facility, which is scheduled for completion on April 4.

University security monitors will patrol the area this week, and workers will place Styrofoam over the windows.

ïThree University students were arrested and cited for breaking a window of a metro bus stop Friday.

Off-duty University police who were exercising at 12:30 a.m. near Pillsbury Drive and Pleasant Street SE saw the students damaging the property and called police on their cell phones, said University police Capt. Steve Johnson.

“I was drunk coming home from a party and I picked up a newspaper stand and threw it through the bus shelter,” said freshman David Valdimar.

Valdimar said he and his roommate spent the weekend at Hennepin County jail. They were arrested for underage consumption and property damage charges and could be penalized with up to a year in prison or a $3,000 fine.

A third student was cited for underage consumption.