Reports of shooting cause alarm
Posted November 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm in News
Reports of a shooting at approximately 5:05 p.m. on Monday 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, while the second claimed that early reports were ‚Äúunfounded‚ÄĚ 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 spoke to a man who thought someone driving by had shot at him, and identified the possible suspects as three Hispanic males in a white Toyota truck with a camper shell.
Carlisle said that the department decided to send out a Trojans Alert immediately to keep students in the loop.
‚ÄúThe suspects are at large. Stay away from the area,‚ÄĚ the alert read. ‚ÄúSeek shelter in a secure location until the incident is resolved. Be aware of your surroundings.‚ÄĚ
DPS acknowledged that not all information had been confirmed in the alert, but Carlisle said they chose to send the information out anyway to protect students from potential harm.
‚ÄúAt the time, we thought safety of the students first, let‚Äôs ensure the safety of the area by sending out a Trojans Alert,‚ÄĚ Carlisle said.
After DPS officers began investigating the area, however, they realized no gunshots had been fired and identified the source of the noise as a car backfiring.
The university then sent out a second alert at approximately 5:26 p.m., explaining that the alleged shooting ‚Äúhad been investigated and was determined to be unfounded.‚ÄĚ
Despite the inaccuracy of the initial alert, some students said they were pleased with the way DPS handled the reports of the shooting.
‚ÄúIt frustrates me that the incident was, in fact, unfounded, but that being said it didn‚Äôt cause me any major inconvenience,‚ÄĚ said Matt Cheung, a freshman majoring in communication. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm glad that DPS is taking the approach of Trojans being safe rather than sorry.‚ÄĚ
Other students, like Brianna Pak, a freshman majoring in industrial systems engineering, however, said they weren‚Äôt so happy with the way DPS handled the incident.
‚ÄúI 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,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI mean, how do you not know if there was or wasn‚Äôt a shooting? It causes unnecessary fear and delegitimizes their alerts in the case of a real emergency.‚ÄĚ
Though DPS aims to be both accurate and quick with Trojans Alerts, Carlisle said would rather err on the side of caution.
‚ÄúThe bottom line is a man mistakenly thought a noise was a gunshot, and we sent out a Trojans Alert just to be safe,‚ÄĚ Carlisle said.
Yasmeen Serhan contributed to this report.