Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF alert system passes test, but alarm is false

TAMPA — The call about a gunman emptied out the University of South Florida Police Department.

Out went the chief, major, four lieutenants, a captain, three detectives and the patrol officers.

And out went a security alert that reached 15,500 students and faculty members over e-mail and cell phones, USF Lt. Meg Ross said.

"Avoid Cooper Hall area due to police activity."

That was at 2:20 p.m. Sixteen minutes later, another message went out: all clear.

An officer had found the source of the threat. It was an ROTC student carrying around his practice rifle out of uniform.

"There was no indication anyone saw him threaten anyone with the rifle," Ross said.

But the false alarm marked the first time USF authorities had responded to a possible shooter since the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech shootings, which killed 33 and heightened campus security across all U.S. colleges.

Ross said USF's police force responded well, and its seven-year-old "mobull" emergency messaging system quickly reached its targets.

"It was the kind of thing that gets your adrenaline going," she said. "Everything worked."

Students now can choose whether or not to register their e-mails and cell phone numbers with the security system, USF spokeswoman Lara Wade said. But that will become mandatory next fall.

The last time the system was used was during a tropical storm years ago, school officials said.

Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or jgeorge@sptimes.com.

USF alert system passes test, but alarm is false 06/24/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 6:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida reverses decision to shield information from nursing home inspection reports

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida regulators decided Friday they will abandon the use of software that allowed them to heavily redact key words from nursing home inspection reports posted online, choosing instead to link to the more complete reports available on a federal site.

    Officials for the state Agency for Health Care Administration said Friday they will no longer use software that allowed them to heavily redact key words from nursing home inspection reports posted online. The agency has been under increased scrutiny since Sept. 13, when eight residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, pictured here, died after power was lost to an air-conditioning system during Hurricane Irma. Two more residents died this week. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
  2. Trump's travel ban to be replaced by restrictions tailored to certain countries

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans told the New York Times on Friday.

  3. Maria: Clearwater Coast Guard plane aids rescue near Puerto Rico

    Military

    Eight minutes. That's how long it took the Petty Officer 3rd Class Darryn Manley of the Coast Guard said it took him to spot the boat that capsized off a Puerto Rican island on Thursday.

  4. Mom of girl who died looking for candy seeks to keep husband away

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eight days after her 4-year-old daughter died in the care of paternal grandparents, pregnant Lizette Hernandez sat in a Hillsborough County courthouse Friday, attempting to seek full-time custody of her 19-month-old son.

    Lizette Hernandez, 22, completes paperwork Friday for a motion for protection from domestic violence against her husband, Shane Zoller. Their daughter, Yanelly, 4, died in a reported gun accident at the home of Zoller's parents Sept. 14. She alleges that her husband hit her and caused her to fall on a grave marker at their daughter's funeral Thursday in a tussle over their remaining 1-year-old son. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]