The University of St. Thomas student who shot and wounded a fellow dormitory resident in the head with errant gunfire was putting the weapon away when it discharged, police said Wednesday.
The shot Friday night grazed the head of 22-year-old English major Paul J. Rousseau, of Maple Grove, police said. Rousseau required surgery and was discharged days later from Regions Hospital after being struck in his Flynn Hall room by the gunfire from another room.
The student who fired the handgun, a 22-year-old man from Hermantown, Minn., has not been charged in connection with what St. Paul police classified in its incident report as a reckless discharge of a firearm. Police released his name, but the Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects before they are charged.
Police spokesman Steve Linders said the student with the gun, who had a permit to carry a firearm, was in the process of storing the weapon and thought it was unloaded when he accidentally fired it.
Police said earlier in a statement that “the suspect was ... interviewed and was cooperative throughout.” Authorities continue to investigate the case for possible charges, Linders said.
Weapons are not allowed “on university property except where possession of a weapon is a requirement of an individual’s job,” according to the school’s website. Violation of that rule could mean expulsion.
University spokeswoman Janet Swiecichowski said the student who fired the gun is no longer allowed on school property, a move that assures that others “are not going to bump into him on campus.”
Swiecichowski called the shooting an “unsettling situation” for the university and emphasized that weapons not only are prohibited from campus but are dangerous and need to be reported to authorities. A statement from school administration Saturday said that the university is conducting an “immediate and thorough investigation” of its own.