Yale Student Arrested After Firing Shots in Frat

Students knew David Light was avid gun collector before drunken shots.

July 20, 2007 — -- A Yale University student arrested earlier this week after allegedly firing a gun into the ceiling of his fraternity house and later found in possession of a cache of weapons and ammunition now faces six criminal counts as well as an academic suspension.

David Light, 21, was firing gunshots in the basement of the Beta Theta Pi house at 3 a.m. last Friday when a visitor heard the shots and ran downstairs to investigate. When the visitor, Christopher Keefer, arrived downstairs, he saw Light alone and wielding a pistol, according to police reports.

He told Light, who had been drinking heavily that night, to put his gun away, but the Yale junior refused and fired two more shots into the ceiling. He told Keefer that he was only firing blanks, but an argument ensued, and Keefer asked Light to prove that nobody would get hurt.

"Why don't I point it at your head to find out?" Light allegedly replied.

Keefer retreated and left the house. On Monday afternoon he reported the incident in a statement to the Yale University Police Department, and Light was arrested later that evening, according to a police affidavit.

Light has been charged with two counts of illegal possession of an assault rifle, unlawful discharge of a firearm, reckless endangerment in the first degree, threatening in the second degree, and breach of peace in the second degree, the university said. He has also been suspended from Yale at the direction of the university's president, Richard Levin.

A Good Friend, a Collection of Guns

Light had an extensive collection of guns on campus, and when he was arrested police also seized an AK-47 assault rifle, AR-15 assault rifle, two rifles, a shotgun, several pistols and 4,000 to 5,000 rounds of mixed ammunition, according to New Haven police. Ammunition and "a supply of various chemicals" were also seized, according to Yale.

While Light did have permits for "long guns" like rifles and shotguns, he did not have a permit pistol, according to the affidavit.

Students who know Light said the Yale junior was a good student who seemed normal and was not a misfit at Yale. In addition to being a member of the Beta fraternity, he also excelled in extracurriculars, serving as president of Chabad at Yale, a Jewish student organization. He also briefly played for the rugby team earlier on in his time at Yale.

"He is a good student and a good friend, and I hope that this mistake doesn't ruin his future," said Adam Metzger, the treasurer of Chabad. "I hope this blows over for David's sake."

Many students who knew Light were aware that he had a collection of guns on campus. Though it did raise some eyebrows, before this incident nobody found it disconcerting enough to warrant a report to administrators, said one Yale student who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

This is especially noteworthy given the "fairly low tattling standards at Yale," the student said. "In my freshman dorm, being a heavy metal fan was enough to get one kid reported to our [administrators] as possibly dangerous."

The student said classmates did not see Light as particularly threatening or as having any plans to hurt other students with the guns.

"He seemed like a normal guy," said one student who was on the rugby team with Light. The student, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, remembered that Light would bring his girlfriend to rugby matches, and that teammates would affectionately call him "Sideshow," a reference to Light's frizzy hair resembling that of "Simpsons" character Sideshow Bob.

Several members of the Beta fraternity declined to comment for this story, saying that the group had decided to withhold comment for the moment.

Light is a biology concentrator at Yale, according to the Yale Daily News. He is also a regular at the New Haven Sportsman's Club, a local gun range, the newspaper reported.

Light, who was transferred to state custody after he was arrested, was released Tuesday after posting $150,000 bond and is due back in court on August 2. His academic suspension will be reviewed by a Yale disciplinary committee in the fall, the university said.