Virginia Tech communicates swiftly after shooting

The university’s campus alert system immediately warned students of the imminent danger and communicators had their message for the public ready.

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According to The Washington Post, a message stating, “Stay indoors. Secure in place,” was sent to students promptly after a campus police officer was shot during a routine traffic stop. That officer was killed, along with a person found in a parking lot into which the shooter fled.

A second alert describing the shooter went out soon after.

The messages were delivered by email, text message, robocall, online message boards in classrooms and campus alarms via the university’s alert system. That response was markedly faster than in 2007, when Seung Hui Cho killed 33 on Virginia Tech’s campus. It took two hours for the first emails to go out after that shooting.

For non-students, the university’s website kept a live feed of updates going on its homepage. The feed starts at 12:37 p.m., soon after the initial shooting, and ends at 4:31 p.m., when the alert was lifted. “Law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place,” the feed states. “Resume normal activities.”

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