Cal Poly students arrested for firing gunshots on campus

November 17, 2023

Charles Hojaboom and Brandon Pham


Cal Poly police officers arrested a pair of students who allegedly fired gunshots on campus and had a weapons cache inside their on-campus apartment or dormitory. 

Shortly after 10 p.m. on Nov. 11, while on patrolCal Poly police officers heard gunshots in the Poly Canyon Village area. Police dispatch then received several calls from campus residents reporting sounds of gunshots.

Officers arrived at the scene and found Charles Hojaboom and Brandon Pham in possession of a shotgun and a loaded, concealed pistol. Police also found a campus sign along the road with bullet holes, according to the Cal Poly Police Department. 

Police reportedly found a weapons cache and ammunition inside the students’ housing.

There were no reports of any injuries. All indications are the students were firing at targets, not people, university police say. 

Authorities booked Hojaboom and Pham in SLO County Jail. Their charges include shooting into an occupied dwelling, possession of a loaded firearm on a university campus, vandalism, carrying a concealed weapon on one’s person, possession of a stun gun on a university campus, carrying a loaded firearm in public under specific circumstances and willful discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner. 

Both Hojaboom and Pham bailed out of jail.

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 11 incident, multiple individuals reported hearing gunshots on campus, parents of Cal Poly students allege. Parents say they are concerned about campus safety, despite efforts by the university to reassure them.

On Thursday evening, five days following the shooting, Cal Poly issued a Clery Act warning bulletin. The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose certain information about crime on campuses. 

Cal Poly says it issued the Clery warning only out of an abundance of caution. University officials say the warning was not necessary, at least initially, because the criminal incident did not pose a potential serious or ongoing threat to the campus community. 

“With additional information recently coming to light in the investigation, including the fact that both students bailed out of jail, a Clery notification to campus was made yesterday out of an abundance of caution,” Cal Poly Police Chief George Hughes and Vice President for Civil Rights and Compliance Maren Hutton said in a statement on Friday. 

The San Luis Obispo Police Department is assisting university police with the investigation. The investigation remains ongoing, and the case has been referred to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office.

Cal Poly’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is conducting a separate investigation. University administrators have banned both Hojaboom and Pham from the Cal Poly campus as the criminal case and student conduct investigation are ongoing. 

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They probably got out on low or no bail. The police way overcharged them. Based on the story concealed weapon is the only provable charge.

Cal Poly students, not surprising at all. Next!

“Their charges include shooting into an occupied dwelling, “, certainly sounds like they werent just shooting at targets, but I guess you could call an occupied dwelling a target, including those who are the occupiers.

California want guns in all the wrong hands . That way it will be easier to take away the guns in the right hands .

I hope they keep these 2 under surveillance. Awesome that they can bail out of jail, go home to their parents and retrieve more guns, then walk right back onto campus if they want to. Hope they also seized any electronic devices so they can get any social media posts, internet searches, etc to see if maybe they were planning a mass shooting.

And why did the cops say it looked like all they were doing was shooting at targets yet they’re being charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling?

Dumb and Dumber

I’m seeing indignant/smug looks in those faces… Hope we don’t end up hearing more from these two school shooters :/ Should be expelled immediately imo.

I thought Cal Poly was noted for recruiting students who were among the best and the brightest?

My two cents, Cal Poly should have immediately notified the campus community and not have worried about their crime statistics that they are required to report. It is not okay that they waited so long to send out the notification—five days from incident to notifying the campus community. A cache of weapons and ammunition are what mass shootings are made of. And a huge shame on Cal Poly as they don’t learn lessons very well.

Right. Cal Poly’s more interested in protecting its image than in safety.