The problems continue to mount in The University of Texas at Tyler area as students are reporting large gang fights, disturbances and suspicious people.
“Both complexes are having criminal activity issues, but we are addressing those and that is why there have been increased arrests at these locations,” he said.
Martin said that on Monday night, just hours before Kendrick Harper, 24, of Dallas, and Brandon Rainwater, 24, of Cedar Hill, were shot by an unknown assailant as they sat in their car in the Cambridge Apartment parking lot, a man identified as 18-year-old Blake Irving Thomas, walked into an apartment and robbed two other men at gunpoint.
Martin said the robbery was reported about 10:20 p.m. in apartment 412 where the two victims said they were robbed at gunpoint by a person they met on the basketball court at Tyler Junior College.
“The victims told police that the suspect had entered their apartment after being let in and pulled out a handgun demanding their cash. The suspect took the cash and fled the area,” he said.
Martin said police were later able to identify Thomas as the suspect but added he did not know at this time whether Thomas was involved in the shooting several hours later.
Thomas, who was a tenant in the complex but has since been evicted, is wanted on aggravated robbery charges and a bond has been preset at $300,000.
Martin said he did not believe the apartment where the robbery occurred was the same apartment where the dice game was going on that Harper and Rainwater had been in before they were shot.
Police said Joiner and another man argued with several other men at Outlaws Club on Texas Highway 110 South but left the club before the altercation became physical.
A short time later, a tan Dodge Durango with large rims occupied by several black males pulled up next to Joiner’s vehicle on Patriot at University and opened fire on Joiner’s vehicle, police said.
Julie Smith said her daughter is a student living in Varsity Place and she is scared for her daughter’s safety.
“My daughter’s roommate called 911 after they saw 50-plus people in the parking lot fighting. … This is the third incident my daughter has had to deal with in a month,” she said about an incident Tuesday night in an email.
Police records show one man was arrested for criminal trespass and causing a disturbance the night of the reported fight and since Tuesday there have been several other arrests and reports of suspicious people on the premises.
Police records also show there have been arrests made at Cambridge Apartments in the past several days.
Martin said extra patrols and a zero tolerance policy is the reason for the increased number of arrests.
“There are a small group of individuals that are causing the problems. We are spending a lot of time at both locations there to get the issue cleaned up,” he said. “We told the apartment management what we can do for them and what they can do to help us so we can work in concert with each other to clear up these problems.
Anyone with information about any of the crimes or Thomas’s whereabouts is asked to contact Tyler Police at 903-531-1000 or the Tyler/Smith County Crimestoppers at 903-597-2833.