VSU officials explain delay in lock-down alert after stabbing

Posted at 8:45 AM, Oct 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-18 11:33:40-04

ETTRICK, Va. (WTVR) – Virginia State University lifted its campus-wide lock down Thursday morning, more than 12 hours after a violent night at the school, but questions remain on the procedure employed by the university.

VSU police received a call around 5:45 Wednesday night regarding a fight that broke out on campus.

At 6:09 p.m. police sources told CBS 6 that a lock-down had been issued. However, at 6:44 p.m. VSU spokesperson, Tom Reed said a lock-down was not in place.

But at 6:48 p.m., students received an alert that a campus wide lock-down was in effect.

“It was in that brief interim of time that coincidentally the lock-down alert came out,” said Reed.

Some students told CBS 6 they believe the school handled the situation well. However, others said officials should not have waited an hour to issue the lock-down.

“They should have handled that immediately because the safety of our students is very important,” said a VSU senior, Derek Floyd.

CBS 6 reporter Chelsea Rarrick asked Reed why the school waited an hour.

“It was a lot of confusion last night here on campus and we had a lot of local surrounding jurisdictions becoming involved in this. We had to coordinate a lot of tactical response,” said Reed.

Reed also said since there was not an active gunman on campus, which would prompt a lock-down immediately, officials had to make sure the situation was under control.

The university said it planned to increase security after one man was stabbed near the university’s football field Wednesday night. He suffered minor injuries, a university spokesman said. Several fights broke out following the stabbing.

“The stabbing victim was a student and has been treated and released from the hospital,” reporter Jerrita Patterson tweeted from a morning press conference. “VSU police have a suspect they are questioning.”

The university said it did not know what sparked the violence, but is reviewing video from the scene.

“Due to an emergency on campus we are requesting that all buildings be locked down and all persons remain inside until further notice,” an alert sent to students at 6:48 p.m. Wednesday read. A phone call from the RAVE alert system and an email followed the initial alert.

This week is Homecoming Week at Virginia State. The university said no activities have been canceled because of the violence.

Officials also said they have requested additional resources to help during weekend activities.

Chesterfield, Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Virginia State Police assisted in the investigation.