Sophomore arrested for weapon possession

By on February 2, 2016

Sophomore Nicholas Pappas was arrested Friday after Hamden police found weapons in his car, according to a police press release.

100641695_000001 (2)Photo Courtesy of Hamden police

Police say they received a complaint on Jan. 25 about a social media post that featured the student off campus firing a handgun into the ground. The Chronicle obtained a video from a student’s Snapchat story, which shows Pappas driving a car and shooting a firearm out the window while someone else was filming. In the four-second video, Pappas is seen driving by houses when he fires the weapon.

The complaint led the police to search Pappas’ car and they found four weapons: a police baton, an automatic switchblade knife and two pairs of brass knuckles. Officers arrested Pappas on Jan. 29 at police headquarters.

The university issued Pappas a suspension, according to Vice President for Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell.

“The student has been suspended from the university pending the outcome of his student conduct meeting,” Bushnell said in a statement. “We will always remove any individual whose actions threaten the safety and security of our community.”

Pappas was released from police custody after posting a $15,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 12.

Freshman biology major Jackie Schurick said Pappas’ punishment from the university is more than fair.

“It could have been so much worse for him,” she said. “Just imagine a little kid sleeping [when he shot the firearm in the video], it’d be terrifying.”

Pappas likely wanted to be filmed shooting a firearm so he could look tough, Schurick said. But she said this wasn’t a good idea—especially since it was recorded and could be used as evidence against him.

Ben Mucci, a sophomore in the physician’s assistant program, saw the video after a friend showed it to him and said he thought it wasn’t a good idea for Pappas to have used a firearm.

“But I think college kids do stupid things sometimes and I think it was just one of those things,” he said.

This doesn’t mean Pappas should not be punished, Mucci said.

“He should definitely be suspended and if he’s guilty of further things, potentially be expelled,” Mucci said.

But freshman psychology major Tyler Zarin said he thought the bond should have been higher and the university’s punishment should have been harsher.

“Some kids are going around, driving around, shooting at houses, you don’t want him going to the school,” Zarin said. “One, he’s a danger to all the students who go here. And two, this gives the school a bad name.”

Junior public relations major Shannon Spitzfaden said people should not be able to shoot a firearm so “freely,” as she said Pappas did.

“I think it is definitely scary that someone can have possession of a weapon and use it that freely,” she said.

Spitzfaden is also concerned about the reaction the arrest will stir up among Hamden residents.

“I think this situation might affect our relationship with Hamden because Hamden already does not like Quinnipiac students in general,” Spitzfaden said.

The Hamden Police Department did not return multiple requests for comment on whether it has found Pappas’ firearm or where he was in the video. Pappas also did not return a request for comment.

Tara O’Neill, Julia Perkins and Hannah Feakes contributed reporting to this story.

Here is a video The Chronicle obtained from a students’ Snapchat story, which shows Pappas firing a gun in his car.

The Chronicle originally reported on this story on Monday, Feb. 1. For the original story, click here.

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