Reports of a shooting on Monday night led the Dept. of Public Safety to send two Trojans Alerts to the USC community.
One alerted students, faculty and staff to an alleged shooting near Exposition Boulevard, and the second said that early reports were unfounded and the area was safe.
According to DPS Capt. David Carlisle, a DPS officer was on a routine patrol on Exposition Boulevard near Exposition Park when he heard what sounded like a gunshot. He then saw a man who thought someone driving by had shot at him, and identified the vehicle as a white Toyota truck with a camper shell.
The man also alleged that three Hispanic males were in the car.
Carlisle said that the department decided to send out a Trojans Alert immediately to keep students in the loop.
“At the time, we thought safety of the students first, let’s ensure the safety of the area by sending out a Trojans Alert,” Carlisle said.
After DPS officers began investigating the area, however, they realized no gunshots had occurred and identified the source of the noise as a car backfiring.
Despite the inaccuracy of the initial alert, some students said they were pleased with the way DPS handled the reports of the shooting.
“It frustrates me that the incident was in fact unfounded, but that being said, it didn’t cause me any major inconvenience,” Matt Cheung, a freshman majoring in communication, said. “I’m glad that DPS is taking the approach of Trojans being safe rather than sorry.”
Other students, however, like Brianna Pak, a freshman majoring in industrial systems engineering, said they weren’t so happy with the way DPS handled the incident.
“I understand that DPS is trying to be safe as opposed to sorry, but I think they should verify their facts before they talk to students,” she said. “I mean, how do you not know if there was or wasn’t a shooting? It causes unnecessary fear and delegitimizes their alerts in the case of a real emergency.”
Though DPS aims to be accurate and quick with Trojans Alerts, Carlisle said the department would rather err on the side of caution.
“The bottom line is a man mistakenly thought a noise was a gunshot, and we sent out a Trojans Alert just to be safe,” Carlisle said.