The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Shooter at UT opens fire, takes own life

The+University+of+Texas+was+locked+down+this+morning+after+reports+of+two+gunmen+on+the+campus.
Derek Stout/The Daily Texan
The University of Texas was locked down this morning after reports of two gunmen on the campus.

The University of Texas was locked down this morning after reports of two gunmen on the campus. (Derek Stout/The Daily Texan)

The University of Texas locked down around 8:00 AM CST in response to an armed suspect who entered the University’s Perry Castaneda Library. The suspect fired several shots from his AK-47 outside the library before turning the gun on himself.

He was pronounced dead on the library’s sixth floor. No injuries or deaths of other UT students, faculty or staff have been reported. 

UT closed mid-morning and cancelled all remaining classes for the day.

UT freshman Bonnie Tibbs had not yet left for class when the University locked down.

“I received a UT text alert at 8:23 AM stating there was an armed suspect last seen at the Perry Castaneda Library (PCL). A second message came shortly after alerting us to take shelter and stay where you are.”

At 11:00 AM, the campus sirens continued to blare as the SWAT teams searched every building for a second suspect. “We have a reports of a second suspect that was wearing a beanie with a long rifle, wearing blue jeans and a black top that we’re looking for that may or may not be a white male,” Chief of Police Art Acevedotold an Austin radio station. By noon however, the lockdown was lifted as police called off their search for the alleged second suspect.   

“I feel that the campus has handled the situation very well and students were alerted promptly about the situation. I think universities, such as UT, have learned a lesson from the Virginia Tech shooting three years ago,” Tibbs told the Daily Campus.

UT is no stranger to this kind of violence, recalling the 1966 shooting that until the Virginia Tech tragedy was the deadliest campus shooting in American history. The shooter, Charles Joseph Whitman, a UT student and marine, from his perch atop UT’s iconic tower, killed 14 and injured 32 others with a rifle.

It is now more important than ever for universities to have an effective emergency preparedness plan. Kent Best at SMU’s Public Affairs Office said, “It’s a challenge that every university faces. The goal is of course to reach everyone but sometimes that is not always possible, even if every effort is made.”

SMU’s emergency response system is very similar to UT’s. Best praised UT’s response saying, “SMU would do the same thing: lockdown and encourage those not on campus to stay away.”

In the event of an emergency, SMU students have a variety of communication tools available. Building intercoms and the SMU Police would likely be the first lines of communication followed by text, e-mail, phone and web alerts.

For concerned parents and relatives, Best advises they check the SMU website. “Our immediate concern is for our students here on campus,” he said. SMU’s alert system is based upon emergency contact information provided to the university by the students. Students can add unlimited numbers, to include their home phone or a parents cell number, but the alerts will go out in stages, giving first priority to students’ primary contact information here in Dallas. “This is an effort to avoid overloading the emergency response system,” Best advised.

Soldiers prepare to enter Calhoun Hall on the Six Pack of the University of Texas at Austin Campus. (Tamir Kalifa/The Daily Texan)

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