This was my son's university campus for three hours today. Two separate 911 callers reported a man walking towards campus with a bookbag and with what appeared to be a (assault?) rifle. Police immediately responded, the University immediately sent the text and email alerts to students and blared the emergency sirens that signal danger. The entire campus went on lockdown. I was fortunate that the Pirate was in a building with good cell service so we texted off and on for three hours. The Pirate Girl was in the library with bad cell service but wi fi capability so her mom and I were able to carry on conversations with her. I was able to learn the whereabouts of quite a few of my Pirate babies. I prayed as did many others. I know it would have so much worse if I hadn't been able to communicate with my baby but I had alot of nervous energy and anxiety. I'm not one to jiggle my foot when sitting but both legs were constantly going. I was tied to texts, FB messages, the TV, phone calls and gratefully later on, thanks to a fellow Pirate alum, I had a livestream feed from the Greenville TV station. Of course rumors swirled about where the gunman was and what the police were doing. Some students came on campus unaware and had guns pointed at them as they got on their knees and put their hands behind their head...standard procedure, they were then escorted to safety. The lockdown ended and no one was injured and many breathed signs of relief and thanked God.
In the press conference the police spokesman shared that the man they were searching for was found by a deputy sheriff. The suspicious weapon was a golf umbrella, of course he was interviewed but not charged. Bless the poor guy's heart, I'm sure he'll be recognized by people that know him. he was wearing a unique hat for a college student, not your usual ball cap. The spokesman said a positive came from the situation. The type of event they train for became reality for a few hours. The Greenville police, the NC Highway Patrol, ECU campus police and the University worked together flawlessly. Why did it take three hours?....the spokesman said that the huge negative today was social media (not the press), Facebook and Twitter. There were posts shared about hostages in three different buildings. The building I studied in had so many rumors swirling that they decided to go in and do a floor by floor sweep to put that rumor down. There was a rumor that the gunman had commandeered a bus.....every university and city bus was boarded and secured. There was rumor that there were 2 gunmen, people with multiple crossbows and more. The authorities had to spend time checking out all these before they could be confident that the campus was safe. He said unfortunately they spent alot of time chasing these "ghosts". Social media it can be a good thing (I was definitely thankful for it today) but even more so in the present technological world we need to be careful that we know we speak the truth.
I applaud the law enforcement and university. There will be some that rant about the silliness and waste of today but I will take the Pirate and all the other pirates being locked up inside bored and hungry for three hours over there be no action taken and us living the tragedy that has occurred on campuses like Virginia Tech.