The three gunmen at Georgia State University weren’t master criminals. They didn’t wear masks, and they practically smiled for the security cameras. The suspects are accused of robbing people they knew. And it happened right after they signed into a dorm as guests.
One camera captured men identified as Quinton Arnold, a current GSU student, Dorian Demetrius Stroud, a former student, and Dantevious Devall Patrick walking down the hall of Building C of University Commons, a 2,000-student complex on Piedmont Avenue. They looked like normal students shortly before knocking on the door of a room where four students had gathered.
The three pulled two handguns and quickly left with an iPad and cellphones, said GSU Police Deputy Chief Carlton Mullis. About 15 minutes later, the victims reported the crime.
The robbery took place around 7 p.m. Wednesday. By 6 a.m. Thursday, police had arrested Arnold outside his own dorm, Stroud’s mother had turned him in and Patrick turned himself in after seeing his picture on TV.
“By the time the sun was up everybody was in jail,” Mullis said. “They are getting a lesson in criminology now. Two of them are going to spend their birthdays in jail.”
Serious crimes such as armed robbery of students remain rare at GSU. The last major crime reported on the GSU police website was the July 17 armed robbery of a parking attendant in a school parking deck on Auburn Avenue. A year ago, four robberies and an attempted robbery were reported on or near campus between Oct. 26 and Nov. 29, 2012.
Still, sophomore Justyce Wright, who lives in a neighboring dormitory, said the robbery had left her unnerved because the residence halls are viewed as a sanctuary from the risks of crime in downtown Atlanta.
“I don’t think it has ever happened inside a dorm before,” the Lawrenceville woman said. “I’ve got a couple of campus alerts about walking at night by yourself. People are going to rob you then, of course, but never in the dorm.”
None of the three suspects appear to have adult criminal records, Mullis said. Investigators are trying to determine what relationship they may have had with the three men and one woman in the dorm room. Stroud last attended GSU in 2012. The robbery could have been a crime of opportunity, a debt collection, retribution or some other scenario, Mullis said.
“They went to that room for a reason,” Mullis said. “A lot of time when we follow up on something like this, and they knew each other, it is drug-related. But when you get robbed by a drug dealer or you get robbed by a stranger, it is still traumatic and it is still a robbery.”
Mullis said a victim recognized Arnold, who lives in Piedmont North, another housing complex. That victim sent a text message to 18-year-old Arnold and asked him to meet him on Piedmont Avenue. “He did, and we arrested him,” Mullis said. The deputy chief expected Arnold to be suspended until a campus hearing decides his student status.
Police released a photo of the suspects from security video. Patrick, 18, saw the picture and turned himself in, and Stroud’s mother saw the picture and turned her 19-year-old son in, Mullis said. All were booked into the Fulton County Jail on charges including armed robbery, aggravated assault and burglary.
The university’s dormitories are secured by key-card access, but police said they think Arnold used his student ID card at the security check-in, then signed in the other two men as his guests.
“We could make a 100-percent secure facility but nobody would want to live in it,” Mullis said, “This is not a prison.”
Staff photographer Jason Getz contributed to this story