Emergency drill tested response

Published 3:14 pm Friday, June 20, 2008

At 9:25 a.m. Thursday faculty and students were alerted through the college’s Emergency Mass Notification System that the facility was in a Level 2 emergency situation because of an active shooter alert

The campus was placed in a lock-down mode for every building and the cafeteria was designated as the command center.

As the minutes unfolded it was learned that the River Village women’s dormitory had a hostage situation and that three people were down with unknown injuries.

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Information gradually trickled out that a shooter had been contained in one of the dormitory rooms and there were nine hostages.

Witnesses to the scene outside the dormitory could see three individuals were down with emergency personnel in attendance. Shortly, one of the victims was carried away from the scene by three emergency personnel while another was covered by a white sheet. In the distance, the third casualty lay with bandages around his left leg.

At the same time an explosion was heard in a portable classroom in another part of the campus. Initially, all that was known was that there were students inside and that one PRCC staff person had been injured in the explosion.

It was determined that the smoke seen from the explosion was non-toxic but that the type of vapor in the smoke was unknown.

Details emerged in bits and pieces, relayed to waiting news personnel by the college’s public relations director, Chuck Abadie:

—Of the nine hostages, one had been released. The shooter was a white male who had dropped out of several business courses.

—The shooter, age unknown, had a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was being attended by EMS personnel.

—Of the three injured students, one had received a head wound, one had been shot in the leg and the third’s injures were unknown. The nine hostages were unharmed. The shooter, a student living in another dormitory, died from his wound.

—The released male and female hostages were taken to Crosby Hall on campus where they could contact or meet with family.

The time that had elapsed from the initial lockdown call at 9:25 a.m. until the release of the hostages was approximately one hour. While the dormitory situation had been secured the status of the explosion at the portable classroom and the resulting situation remained unclear.