Iowa State University

News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777



Gene Deisinger, ISU Police, (515) 294-4529,

Charges dismissed in Willow Hall incident

AMES, Iowa -- Investigation has continued regarding the incident at Willow Hall that occurred at approximately 12:55 a.m. Sunday, March 16. In that incident, Ames and ISU Police received a 911 call from witnesses who reported that a man had displayed a handgun.

Officers from ISU Police, Ames Police, the Story County Sheriff's Office and the Iowa State Patrol responded to the scene and immediately began a search for the reported gunman. Officers made contact with the witnesses who had made the emergency call. The witnesses identified the suspect as Jawon R. Jackson, age 20, of Aurora, Illinois. The witnesses reported that they had been on the sixth floor of Willow Hall when they saw Jackson walking toward them with a handgun by his side. The witnesses ran from the area and called 911.

Officers continued to search the building and located Jackson in a room on the sixth floor of Willow Hall. Jackson was searched; however, no gun was found. Officers located an additional witness who reported having also seen Jackson with a handgun, and stated that Jackson had pointed the weapon at him.

Based upon the multiple witness statements, and consultation with the Story County Attorney's Office, Jackson was charged with multiple offenses including: Going armed with intent (a Class D felony); carrying a weapon on school grounds (a Class D felony); and first degree harassment (an aggravated misdemeanor). Jackson was transported to the Story County Jail.

ISU Police personnel conducted numerous searches of Willow Hall and the surrounding area in an attempt to locate the weapon. Despite multiple searches, including the use of a canine team trained to detect firearms, no weapon has been located.

Subsequent investigation has resulted in interviews of additional witnesses who have reported either that no weapon was involved in the incident or that they did not observe any weapons. Further, one of the witnesses has now indicated that they may not have observed a handgun as they initially reported.

Based on the conflicting statements of witnesses, and that no handgun has been located, the Story County Attorney has asked that the charges against Jackson be dismissed without prejudice pending further investigation. Upon dismissal of the charges, Jackson was released from the Story County Jail at approximately 9 a.m. today.

The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone having information relevant to this case should contact the Iowa State University Police Division at (515) 294-4428.

Police urge community members to report any suspicious activity. Should anyone discover a handgun they should not touch the weapon, but should immediately report the discovery to ISU Police.

Note: The charges filed in this case are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


Incident timeline, Mar. 16

  • 9:45 a.m.: ISU Police announce that Jawon R. Jackson, 20, of Aurora, Ill., has been arrested and charged in connection with the incident at Willow Hall
  • 2:20 a.m.: Normal activity resumed in Willow Hall
  • 1:58 a.m.: Police found man, who reportedly had been seen with gun, in Willow Hall
  • 1:40 a.m.: ISU Alert sent to students, faculty, staff
  • 1:32 a.m.: Police locate eyewitness in a Willow Hall room and obtain additional information
  • 12:55 a.m: Police receive call from student, notify area law enforcement agencies and immediately respond to scene