Court documents paint clearer picture of campus gun arrest

Court documents paint clearer picture of campus gun arrest

The North District apartments on UCR Campus PC: Emyr Ortiz / The Highlander

Last week, the campus community was left with questions and concerns as campus authorities announced a student had been placed on interim suspension, and was later arrested, for possessing an assault rifle on campus. While statements released by the university reveal minimal information, court documents paint a clearer picture, revealing the arrested student, Christopher Jung-Yoon Kim, worked as a non-sworn employee of the University of California Police Department (UCPD).

In a sworn statement written by the detective assigned to the case to support an arrest warrant, it was disclosed that Kim was a member of the Highlander Safety Team, a non-sworn, paid, and unarmed group that assists UCPD in patrols and other activities. This information was not disclosed by the university when they announced that the student was arrested.

The district attorney’s office charged Kim with unlawfully possessing an assault weapon and bringing a firearm into a school zone. In the charging document signed by the district attorney, prosecutors cited Kims “possession of an assault rifle on a college campus” as an aggravating factor, stating the behavior “indicates a serious danger to society.”

According to an article by The Press Enterprise, University of California, Riverside’ (UCR) Senior Director of News & Content John Warren confirmed that the investigation began after “a single, unused rifle cartridge” was found in a North District apartment common area. 

Kim was later interviewed by the detective on the case and “admitted to having a rifle in his apartment” and “knew it was illegal to have a gun on university campus.” Following this interview, a search warrant was issued for Kim’s residence.  

On May 3, the search warrant was executed at the North District apartments revealing the rifle, five high-capacity magazines and a journal with hand-drawn images depicting a “violent act,” according to campus authorities. According to court documents, the “violent act” depicted was a “subject shooting a rifle or shotgun at a person and a crowd watching.” Kim told investigators the drawings were “just doodles.”

Documents written by the detective appear to show that Kim complied with aspects of the investigation; during the search he informed law enforcement where in his apartment the rifle was located.

On Sunday, May 5, 2024, an email was sent out to the student body notifying them of the search and what was uncovered. The university did not name Kim, and stated that the student was “placed on interim suspension for alleged violation of several university policies” and was ordered to leave campus. This email was sent out two days after the student’s room was searched.

An update from the school on May 7, 2024 revealed that an arrest warrant was secured for the student and that he had been arrested a day prior. Documents from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office showed that shortly after his arrest, Kim was released on bail for $10,000.

Documents show that Kim bought his gun from Warrior One, a local gun store and that he built the rifle in his room. Kim’s Aero Precision Rifle included two illegal modifications, “a flash suppressor and a telescoping stock.”

Concerns about the campus response and student safety have been raised throughout the student body in the wake of the search and arrest. In an Instagram post liked by more than 2,000 users, the Executive Vice President of the Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR) called for classes to be held online to “ensure student safety remains at the forefront.” An official statement from ASUCR was passed by the Senate last Wednesday, reiterating the calls for Zoom classes. For more information on the reaction of ASUCR, read “ASUCR calls for online classes in wake of student weapon arrest,” on by Emyr Ortiz.

In response to student concerns regarding safety, Johnny Cruz, chief communications and marketing officer, addressed future steps administration is planning to take pertaining to this situation.

In an email to The Highlander, Cruz stated, “In this situation, consistent with our policies, there was a full, rigorous assessment of the student and the situation. All available information was considered, and that includes information guarded by privacy statutes. After reviewing all the information, we concluded it’s safe to carry on normal campus operations. The police are closely monitoring the situation, including with comprehensive campus video surveillance and other methods. Any change in that assessment will result in the university taking appropriate steps.”

Kim’s next court hearing will be on June 20, 2024 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

Additional reporting contributed by Brenda Jovel, Editor-in-Chief

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