Documents reveal details of student-planned robbery turned lethal

Alexander Ferrell, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been charged with first degree robbery.

Will Wright

One of the three students charged with first degree robbery told police about their plan to rob a man under the guise of a drug deal.

Court records, which detail the student’s account, say the three students and 28-year-old James Nathaniel Gordon lured a man to the 500 block of Woodland Avenue, about a block from the Woodland Glen residence halls.

The student told police that he and Alex Ferrell, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, waited for the robbery victim to arrive while the other two men hid in bushes nearby. The other two, according to the student’s account, were wearing masks and had a handgun.

The victim arrived, and as the drug deal was occurring, the other two men jumped out of the bushes and tried to rob the victim. The victim then pulled out a handgun and shot Gordon and Nicholas Vincent Coriaci, an 18-year-old business freshman. Gordon died of his wounds at the UK Chandler Hospital, but Coriaci survived, suffering a gunshot to the shoulder.

A Lexington Police officer heard the gunshots and responded to the scene at about 2:18 a.m.

The student told police the four of them robbed the victim with the hopes of taking his money and drugs.

All three students — Coriaci, Ferrell and Jaydon Bryce Whalen, a 19-year-old education freshman — are scheduled to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. on April 22.

The shooter, who has not been identified, is claiming self-defense and is not facing any charges at this time.

Lt. Brad Ingram of the Lexington Police Department said in a press conference that detectives have identified everyone involved in the shooting, and he does not believe the public is in any danger. He also said there could be additional charges placed on the people involved.

“It’s not over,” Ingram said in the press conference.

The UK Police Department is assisting in the investigation. If any of the involved students violated the student code of conduct, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said the university will respond accordingly.

Monroe said UK Police will continue patrolling Woodland Avenue as they normally do, but they will not increase patrols.

Within the past year, there have been at least five shootings in student neighborhoods or in student-occupied apartment buildings, four of which included fatalities.

In April 2015, UK student and Kentucky Kernel photo editor Jonathan Krueger was shot and killed while walking home in the early morning on East Maxwell Street.

In December, a UK student was shot in his apartment at University Trails on Red Mile Road. That student survived what he described as a robbery.

On Jan. 3, a nonstudent was shot and killed at University Trails during an argument, according to police records.

Later in January, two people were shot in the mostly student-occupied neighborhood on University Avenue. One of those two died in the shooting, but neither were UK students.

Lexington Police Lt. Jonathan Bastian said violent crime near campus is uncommon, and that most of the crime in student neighborhoods is property crime, like the stealing of bikes or backpacks.