Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills said the university was on heightened security alert Tuesday because of an incident at a University of Texas at Austin library.
According to a UT Austin alert update on the campus website, a suspected gunman fired shots on the UT Austin campus before he was found dead on the sixth floor of the Perry-CastaÃÂ±eda Library from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Mills said campus police were at a heightened awareness because of the potential for copycats, but no current threat had been identified on campus.
In the event of the sighting of an active shooter on campus, TCU Police have been trained to isolate the shooter while taking precautions to ensure that no other individuals would be locked in with the shooter, Mills said.
“I know that after the Virginia Tech shooting we talked about it, and that’s when we made sure our officers were trained and ready to stop a shooter,” Mills said.
TCU Chief of Campus Police Steve McGee said TCU Police were prepared and trained to respond to active shooters. He said TCU Police had plans in place regarding how to respond to a situation such as the one on the UT Austin campus.
He also said immediately entering the building to neutralize the threat and contacting local jurisdiction for help were two ways he planned to respond in case the same emergency were to occur on campus.
“We are looking for suspicious people and things like this constantly,” he said.
He said the TCU Police team also relied on students, faculty, staff and resident assistants to identify somebody acting suspiciously.
He said the best way to prevent an active shooter was to get troubled people help before it came to that point.
“Our goal at TCU is to try to get to the people before they get this far along where they think there’s no other way out but to use a gun and either kill themselves or other people,” he said.
Mills said when there was a close connection like the one between some university students and those at UT Austin , they increase awareness and alert levels.
He also said students would be notified of such an incident through TCU ALERT, a system that sends e-mails and text messages to students when they need to be notified of something immediately.
Mills said incidents like this were the reason the university wanted everyone to sign up for TCU ALERT and not just for weather alerts.
“We want to be sure, when we do use TCU ALERT, it’s something people will look at,” Mills said.
Director of Communications Lisa Albert said students should utilize other forms of communication from the university besides TCU ALERT.
“I think it’s important for students to know that while they would get text messages in a situation like that. We encourage them to rely not only on that, but also on the website, recorded information line and the various sources of ways that we communicate,” Albert said.
The university also posts information to its website, Facebook and Twitter. In the instance of a shooter, Mills said it was best to dial TCU Police because they are trained to deal with the situation.
During an emergency, TCU Risk Management stresses the importance of communication. Risk Management suggests students do four things to help the university:
- Call TCU Police instead of 911 when an emergency situation arises on campus. This will lead to a quicker response time because of the proximity of officers to campus. TCU Police can be reached at 817-257-7777 or by dialing extension 7777 from any TCU phone line.
- Students should update emergency contact information on file in order to aid the university in contacting family members in case of emergency.
- Students should call home to let their family members know they are safe. This is to prevent a flood of incoming calls if an emergency occurs on campus or in the surrounding areas.
- Students should inform their families where they will be if they should choose to leave campus during an emergency, but will not be returning home at that time.
For more information and more detailed instructions visit www.saf.tcu.edu/