By Joh Covington, Skyline Editor
ALPINE_ The fear of gun violence struck Alpine Monday when three law enforcement agencies shut down Sul Ross State University searching for a man who they suspected might be armed and stalking the campus in search of potential victims.
After students and staff were directed to shelter in place behind locked or barricaded doors, Campus security, backed by Alpine Police and the Brewster County Sheriff’s Department, combed every building in search of a “suspicious” white male with a neon-colored backpack. After less than two hours, an “all clear” order was issued and campus activities returned to normal.
According to law enforcement and campus officials, the Sherrif’s Department had stopped and questioned him earlier in the day because he seemed “suspicious” and might have been carrying a weapon. He was not detained at the time, only to turn up on campus in the early evening, after which law enforcement received several reports about “a suspicious person.” The campus emergency alert system, complemented by Skyline social media accounts, seemed to work like a charm, with a constant stream of timely emails, tweets and Facebook posts keeping everyone apprised in real-time of the situation .
“I’ve asked the Sul Ross University campus in Alpine, Texas to shelter in place while our university PD and local law enforcement agencies investigate a report of a possible shooter,” President Pete Gallego wrote in an email and Twitter Post, which was amplified and supplemented by tweets from the Skyline staff, led by Editor Johanna Covington and Social Media Manager Guadalupe Perez-Mata. Meanwhile, staff members Marley Rokas and Kris Porter, both of whom were sheltering in their dorms, provided updates from the campus.
The Alpine Police Department posted several updates on its Facebook page.
The shocking incident was over in less than two hours, with a Tweet from Gallego announcing that he was “happy to report an ‘all clear’ for the Sul Ross campus in #AlpineTx. We follow the ‘see something say something’ rule and we value the safety of every student, staff, member & faculty member.”
“On behalf of the #LoboFamily, I want to thank the university PD, the Alpine Texas police and the #BrewsterCountySheriff’s ofc for helping @Sul_Ross University investigate the allegation of a suspicious person on campus today. You all made a difference today!