SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Callers notified police nearly 400 times this year about issues at a student-focused housing complex where police believe a Texas State student was shot and killed this weekend, according to police records.
Calls to the San Marcos Police Department about the complex known as The Retreat could range from noise complaints to violent crime and robbery. Based on information on an unofficial crime map the city of San Marcos uses to create awareness, at least some of the calls in the area are about fights, assaults and property crime. Officers have also arrested 12 people at the address for The Retreat so far this year.
“There have been numerous calls to that complex, but there have been numerous calls to all apartment complexes in San Marcos for various reasons,” said San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp. “They’re not typically at the top of the charts but they’re near the top of police activities.”
“Late last year we did begin to see an increase in noise complaints reported to the police as our residents are instructed to contact the police for any disturbances. These have since subsided,” a representative for American Campus Communities, the owners of the Retreat, wrote in an emailed statement to KXAN News. “We are working closely with the San Marcos police on this incident and to address the increase in crime in the surrounding area. We are also working with the University on student counseling services.”
Still, San Marcos police also have heard reports of crimes similar to the robbery that ended in 20-year-old Justin Gage’s death. The reports focus on apartment complexes popular with students, police say. Investigators believe suspects are targeting drug dealers, but could also victimize others. The robbers have taken drugs, money and electronics in past cases, according to authorities.
Police are now looking at a previous robbery at The Retreat, as well.
“[There was a] similar incident where people barged into the apartment, we believe drugs were involved it appears as though robbery was a motive,” said Stapp.
“People we didn’t know went in there [and] stole our speaker,” said Spencer Martin, who lives at the complex.
Martin had his own experience with crime at the complex. He says someone, who was not invited to his home, took a speaker. Martin says the speaker was not worth much. So he and his roommate did not report the crime to police.
“I mean, I wasn’t really surprised. I’ve been hearing a lot of different crimes going out here,” said Martin.
About 780 residents live at The Retreat, according to an American Campus Communities spokesperson. The website for the complex has an image stating “Official Student Housing Partner of Texas State Athletics.” A Texas State University spokesperson says the image is part of a sponsorship deal with the athletics department. However, The Retreat is a private, off-campus complex.
American Campus Communities released this statement to KXAN News Monday:
Since this incident is still under investigation we are unable to provide comments to the specifics of the case, and we ask you reference the press release issued by the San Marcos police or contact them directly. However, we were notified early this morning by police that a non-resident had been shot on our property by another non-resident.
The well-being of our residents is important to us. We sent a notification to our residents today about the incident that included safety reminders. While we cannot guarantee anyone’s safety, we do have some specific measures in place. We have a courtesy officer that patrols our community and one that makes round via vehicle patrol. We have also added an additional patrol officer, and both are available to escort residents upon request. As specified in our lease agreement, firearms are prohibited on our property. We provide safety reminders to our residents frequently reminding them to keep doors and windows locked in their apartments and their vehicles at all times and ask anyone who sees any suspicious activity to report it to the police immediately.
There are approximately 780 residents that live at The Retreat in cottage-style housing. Late last year we did begin to see an increase in noise complaints reported to the police as our residents are instructed to contact the police for any disturbances. These have since subsided. We are working closely with the San Marcos police on this incident and to address the increase in crime in the surrounding area. We are also working with the University on student counseling services.