Campus lockdown magnifies security issues
By Ashley Kreiner
For The Carolinian
Alarm and confusion rattled the campus as a Campus Edge Apartments shooting on USC Upstate’s doorstep sent the college on lockdown.
Responding law enforcement officers went to Apartment A-4 on Nov. 7, where the victim (shot in the arm) was located, but saw no sign of the suspect. The incident report states “a protective sweep of the apartment for a shooting victim was initiated,” but no one else was found.
“The person who was shot was not a student and suffered non-life-threatening injuries,” said Tammy Whaley, Upstate spokesperson.
The victim presented different stories, and became uncooperative with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), according to the incident report. A source in law enforcement suggests it was a drug deal gone badly.
A campus administrator described the suspect to be a black male with a grey hoodie and khaki pants, though it was quickly and vehemently denied by the SCSO. No accurate description of the shooter has been provided.
A 2011 Jeep Liberty’s side back window was shattered at the shooting scene. Bullet holes were also found in Apartment H157, according to the incident report.
“The incident remains under investigation, but the victim isn’t any more cooperative today than the day of the incident, which means no suspect or motive has been determined,” said SCSO Public Information Officer Lt. Kevin Bobo.
Page 12 of the 2017 Campus Security Policies and Statistics on USC Upstate’s website states, “Each employee is given a desktop emergency procedures guide detailing policies and procedures for a wide-range of potential emergency situations such as a fire, active shooter, bomb threat, severe weather incident, etc.”
Students reported teachers continuing class with lights on, students in their normal seats, or teachers turning off the lights but panicking. One teacher repeatedly said he was not sure what to do.
Several teachers and students in the Hodge Center were seen in the hallways during lockdown walking, talking or making coffee. A lack of seriousness regarding the shooting was present. One teacher was confirmed unaware the lockdown was taking place.
An electronic locking system is in place at Upstate, where the doors in some buildings can be locked within seconds by a phone keypad. However, the Graphic Arts Building’s electronic locks failed and reportedly are still unrepaired. A peephole on the entry door distorts and blurs the view of outside visitors.
The emergency notification protocol says to “Initiate the ‘SpartAlert’ emergency notification system without delay,” on page 17 of the 2017 Campus Security Policies and Statistics.
Despite the protocol, a tweet notified the public of possible shots fired at 12:41 p.m., two minutes before SpartAlert at 12:43 p.m.
Chief of Police Klay Peterson said every minute counts when discussing campus safety to a News Writing class weeks before the shooting.
All buildings were confirmed on lockdown via SpartAlert at 1:01 p.m., with the lockdown lifted at 1:54 p.m. Twitter confirmed the same at 1:15 p.m. and 1:55 p.m. after SpartAlert.
Administration never gave notification of the suspect being off grounds or captured when the lockdown was lifted.
Many students left campus or did not report to later afternoon or evening classes and some parents drove to the campus to pick up family members.