National News

Students and staff receive vague, delayed alert following TSU shooting

Posted September 7

— Some students and staff at Tennessee State University got a delayed alert following a shooting that injured a former student outside a campus dormitory on Tuesday.

News 4's Briona Arradondo pressed TSU's police chief on Wednesday for answers about why the alert was delayed and how it was worded.

The emergency alert filled inboxes, text messages and phone calls after Larry Bates, 19, was shot in the chest in the parking lot of Boyd Hall Tuesday. It said "There is currently a situation in Boyd Hall. Please stay away from 33rd street parking lot. Additional information will be released as it becomes available."

Students and staff did not know at the time there was a shooting. News 4 asked why TSU did not use that word.

"What happens in this case or any other case, whatever wording may have been used, we look at all these situations and take the opportunity to learn from this," said Greg Robinson, TSU's police chief.

Some of the campus received the first alert around 10:11 a.m., more than 30 minutes after the shooting. News 4 asked Robinson why there was a delay.

"There's a large database that this information goes out to. So as far as a time-sensitive issue, I couldn't tell you how long someone gets it in reference to someone else," Robinson said.

Some students told News 4 the alert's vague wording could have set a different tone.

"When you just told me it was a shooting, then maybe if they would have said shooting then I would have maybe took better precaution. But it made it seem like it was just some type of disturbance. I would say it was kind of a misleading broadcast," said Rephael Morgan, a TSU student.

TSU's chief said they've stepped up patrols. Students said guards check identification and cars that come on campus.

"One thing I kind of was annoyed about was carrying around a lanyard. It's kind I a freshman thing. But they kind of require you to carry around lanyards when you're on campus so it kind of brings down the breach on security," Morgan said.

Metro police are figuring out why Bates was on campus at the time. TSU police said they are looking at their response to the shooting to see what could be better in the future.

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