Valerie and Mickey Redus (center) bow their heads in tearful prayer during a candlelight vigil on the one year anniversary of Cameron Redus' death. Photo by Scott Ball.
Valerie and Mickey Redus (center) bow their heads in tearful prayer during a candlelight vigil on the one-year anniversary of Cameron Redus' death. Photo by Scott Ball.

Editor’s Note: Robert Cameron Redus, a 23-year-old senior honors student at the University of the Incarnate Word was fatally shot by a campus police officer outside his off-campus apartment on Dec. 6, 2013. A Bexar County grand jury issued a no bill, or a decision not to pursue criminal charges, against the now-former University of the Incarnate Word police officer Christopher Carter in March. The Redus Family awaits word on a wrongful death lawsuit filed by his family against UIW and the police officer. Read more about Cameron’s life, death, and the aftermath here.

Below is a commentary written by Jonathan Guajardo, a friend of Cameron’s who was the UIW Student Body president at the time of the shooting.


A lot can change in two years, but a lot can stay the same.

It’s been two years since a campus police officer gunned down my friend, Cameron. It’s been two years since I lost faith in my alma mater, the University of the Incarnate Word. It’s been two years, and Cameron’s parents, family, and friends have yet to receive any closure.

Many of the UIW students closest to Cameron graduated this year. Although still mourning the loss of a friend, we tried our best to move on. As a college campus, UIW is accustomed to seeing students come and go, taking with them fond memories of their college days. However, for those of us who knew Cameron, whatever memories we made before the shooting were soon replaced with flashbacks of frigid December tears and nights spent standing in the cold holding candles, passing out green ribbons, and challenging our university’s choices.

As the second anniversary of the shooting approaches, most of Cameron’s tight­knit group of friends have graduated and moved on to successful careers. However, this issue remains relevant to us and we still find the time to gather in Cameron’s memory and stand with the Redus Family to remember our friend whose life was cut short due to an underqualified campus officer’s actions.

Cameron Redus, 23, was fatally shot by a UIW campus police officer. Courtesy photo.
Cameron Redus, 23, was fatally shot by a UIW campus police officer during a traffic stop in December 2013. Photo courtesy of the Redus Family. Credit: Courtesy / Redus Family

This Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m., we will gather once again to remember, to share, and to pray. As we surround the Cameron Redus memorial tree on the UIW campus, we will remember Cam. We will remember him as a dreamer, an explorer, and an idealist. We will remember him as someone who wanted to see his friends and family succeed and the university that he loved, grow, adapt, and advance.

Earlier on Sunday, a Catholic mass will be held in Cameron’s honor at 10:30 a.m. in Our Lady’s Chapel in the UIW Administration Building. Click here for details on both events.

Despite the best efforts of UIW students to garner change since his death, the university continually dismissed recommendations and pleas for institutional improvements to campus police policy. Soon, a rift developed between the students and the administration? a rift which became evident on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 27, when the UIW campus was twice placed on lockdown. Frightened students and faculty were told to stay indoors following reports of a man wandering the campus carrying a rifle.

A SAPD vehicle is parked at the Hildebrand entrance to the University of Incarnate Word following the pursuit of a man armed with at least one rifle. Photo by Scott Ball.
A SAPD vehicle is parked at the Hildebrand entrance to the University of Incarnate Word after a “lockdown” was imposed because of a possible gunman sighting in October. Photo by Scott Ball.

That night, the university propelled itself into a state of frenzy when UIW police, the university, and civil authorities released conflicting statements regarding the status of the campus and whether or not they ordered a “lockdown.” The university’s official statement placed most of the blame for the communications breakdown on the students and their usage of social media. They stated that the university “was never in a lockdown situation.” They brazenly made these claims despite having released two “Rave Alerts” to the student body earlier in the day which specifically read that the UIW campus was “on lockdown” and later issuing a second alert announcing the lifting of the lockdown using the verbiage: “the campus lockdown has been lifted.”

Once again, UIW chose to cling to its policy of blaming the students first and this time, despite the university’s best efforts, the institution’s communication issues became evident to the public. On Twitter, the hashtag #UIW was inundated with tweets from concerned students, alumni, parents, and citizens all wondering, “How can all these incidents keep happening at this Catholic university in San Antonio?”

On Oct. 27, the students again witnessed an administration out of control. UIW’s new police chief, as well as the university’s administration simply couldn’t handle the situation. Two years and nothing has changed.

I challenge anyone concerned about the future of our nation’s universities to come to our vigil, to write to UIW, and to call the administration and demand change. Furthermore, I challenge UIW graduates and current students to continue to remind the student body, former students, and the nation that one student’s life does matter. Because sometimes nothing changes in two years – sometimes everything can.

*Top image: Valerie and Mickey Redus (center) bow their heads in tearful prayer during a candlelight vigil on the anniversary of Cameron Redus’ death in 2014.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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UIW Student President Calls For Campus Police Policy Reformation

DA LaHood Reaches Out, Meets With Redus Family

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Jonathan Guajardo

Jonathan Guajardo served three terms as Student Body president at the University of the Incarnate Word. He received his bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts in the Spring of 2013, and his master's...