Update as of 5:17 p.m.: University spokesperson Andrew Oppmann released an exclusive statement to MTSU Sidelines regarding the arrest, stating that “We appreciate the vigilant work by the MTSU Police Department in investigating this matter and responding promptly. Our police determined that the students did not make or pose any threats to anyone on our campus. The Office of Student Conduct was made aware of the situation immediately and has taken appropriate disciplinary actions.“
Shady Mankarious, a sophomore at MTSU, was arrested on September 6 for an outstanding warrant for possession of a weapon on campus, according to a report provided by the Middle Tennessee State University Police Department.
According to the report, a Snapchat video had been sent to the MTPD on September 3 which showed two men driving on Blue Raider Dr. near the Student Union with an AR-15 in the lap of the passenger. The video, which was shot from the perspective of the passenger, also showed a box of ammunition in the glove box.
There was no magazine in the rifle during the video.
While no words were spoken in the video, there was “loud music playing…that references an AR-15. At one point, the driver points to the rifle several times during the time the song lyrics reference an AR-15,” according to the report.
Using social media and video surveillance of campus, the MTSU Criminal Investigation Division was able to identify Shady Mankarious as the driver, and a second MTSU student as the passenger.
The second student, who was not charged, admitted that they were the one in the video holding the gun, but that the weapon belonged to Mankarious.
Mankarious affirmed this, stating that he had bought the gun less than a month previous and had it in his vehicle on campus the past two days.
Both suspects “vehemently denied” having any desire to cause harm to anyone on MTSU’s campus or elsewhere. Mankarious stated that he had purchased the weapon for home protection “based on the area that he lived in Antioch.”
The rifle and ammunition were later located in the trunk and glove box in Mankarious’ vehicle, parked in the MTSU Blvd parking garage.
According to Tennessee Annotated Code 39-17-1309, which is the charge applied to Mankarious’ case, it is an offense “to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any firearm, explosive, explosive weapon, bowie knife, hawk bill knife, ice pick, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, knuckles or any other weapon of like kind, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, operated, or while in use by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution.”
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