Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lock Down

What a day at UT. I left for class this morning and got a text from the campus alert system that there was an armed gunman near the library. My morning and afternoon classes happen to be on either side of the library. I kept going, though, because I had classes all day and figured at some point things would be cleared up. I also wasn't too worried since lately, a man has been trying to grope women exiting the library so I thought it might be something related as there have been a couple of false alarms. I called Austin and asked him to turn on the news. Just as I was getting to campus, I learned the SWAT was on the scene and the area was closed off.

My office and parking garage are on the edge of campus and were not close to the impacted area nor were they closed off. I was considering going to a coffee shop but decided to head to my office for some reason. The building was on lock down and the guard let me in. I streamed the media coverage on my computer and texted various people to update them. Squad cars and SWAT vehicles kept flying by my office window, sirens were sounding and PA systems warned of lock down, and emails from the University kept coming in. I could hear helicopters overhead. The cacophony of sounds outside was intense plus I could hear the guard's phone ringing and his emergency radio chattering away.

I stayed in my office as I heard reports that the gunman had shot and killed himself but then word of a second suspect at large came in. I eventually made the choice to leave and made it home safely. The all clear just came in but the University remains closed; still no word on the possible second shooter.

The University did a fantastic job of warning everyone via text, email, and the PA system. When the dust clears, I'll be curious to hear what hindsight tells us. My only concern was that there had been false alarms before so I wasn't as concerned about still going to campus, thinking the alert would soon be lifted. I'm relieved that no one was hurt, at least not physically, and am keeping the University community close in my thoughts.

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