Recent violence sparks discussion about Notre Dame student's vie - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Recent violence sparks discussion about Notre Dame student's views of South Bend


Two-year-old John Swoveland, Jr. was shot and killed last Wednesday while playing on Campeau Street.  Police believe he was hit by a stray bullet.

We continue to check on the progress of the investigation.  The St. Joe County Prosecutor's office told us Tuesday that it's still an active investigation, but Metro Homicide does not have any suspects in custody.

The toddler's death is sparking a discussion on the Notre Dame Campus now.  Notre Dame Senior Lauren Eckert lives just down the block from where the shooting happened.  The violent act and her peers reaction to it compelled her to write a piece about the school's attitude toward the city.

"It was an incredibly tragic story and I think the entire community has been touched," said Eckert. She said her thoughts and her friends thoughts are with John Swoveland, Jr's family. 

But unfortunately Eckert said a lot of people on campus reacted to the tragic news in an unfavorable way.  "There was an extremely negative reaction that a shooting occurred right near student housing."  Or as she puts it in her piece, a lot of people's mindset when they hear about violence is well, that's South Bend, For you.  "I think the negativity I heard from students reflected an idea that the only stories students frequently hear about South Bend are instances of violence or negative stories," said Eckert.

Aaron Perri with Downtown South Bend said, "unfortunately that's not a mindset of only students.  I think this community has a long history of having a little bit of a self deprecating attitude."

Perri said that's all starting to change.  While Eckert's article starts by mentioning the recent tragedy it goes on to say that South Bend is about more than just the violence.

In it she tells stories of all the great things she's discovered in the City.  "There is an incredibly energetic, vibrant, and positive youthful scene in South Bend and I want Notre Dame students to tap into that for their own sake and for the sake of their community. "

Perri said nobody is trying to play down the rash of crime in South Bend.  But as Eckert's article points out there are positive stories to tell despite all the crime in the headlines.  "It's important that we're real and we understand what our issues are but it's also important that we keep our heads up and move forward and talk about our community in a positive light," said Perri.

Eckert and Perri both talked about bridging the gap between Notre Dame and South Bend.  And both said it's a two way street.  They said you need students exploring South Bend and South Bend residents exploring everything the campus has to offer to the community.

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