Lone Star College System officials continue to evaluate the processes and systems in place at all levels related to the shooting incident on Tuesday, Jan. 22. This includes a review of process timelines and how well established protocols, including various warning and alert systems, were utilized and implemented during the incident.
LSCS officials have confirmed that the incident on the LSC-North Harris campus occurred about 12:20 p.m. LSCS police officers heard shots fired and were on the scene immediately and began to contain the area. Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on the scene a few minutes later.
Contrary to incorrect reports by some media, LSCS police officers did not stand by awaiting arrival of sheriff’s deputies. The LSCS officers were immediately assisting victims and assessing the scene. LSCS paramedics were also on the scene within minutes of the shooting.
As the first responders continued to evaluate the scene and determine if there was still an active threat, information was being relayed to the LSCS police dispatch and Office of Emergency Management. Information from the scene indicated that it was not an active shooter scenario. First responders were going door to door in the buildings in the immediate vicinity and ensuring the safety of the students, faculty and staff. Further indications were that the suspects and victims had been identified and the incident had been contained.
The LSCS communications team took control of the LSCS digital monitor screen network and published the Shelter in Place message on all LSC-North Harris campus video screens at approximately 12:35 p.m.
At approximately 12:45 p.m., the LSC-North Harris college relations team sent out a text message to the campus text database.
At about 12:45 p.m. Sheriff’s Office officials activated their crisis communications plan as the primary law enforcement agency responding to the scene and sent emails to LSCS communications officials to notify them of such. As standard procedure, media communication at the scene was handed off to the Sheriff’s Office incident commander.
At 12:52 p.m., the LoneStar.edu website was locked down with the Shelter in Place Lock Down Alert message, which took over the system and LSC-North Harris home page messages.
During this sequence of events, information from the scene emerged indicating that a third suspect or person of interest had left the scene and was being pursued. It was not clear how this person was involved, but once officers on the scene determined that there was a third individual involved in the altercation, the decision was made to evacuate the campus.
At approximately 1:02 p.m. a text message was sent stating “Please Evacuate LSC-North Harris Campus NOW. Shooter on campus.” At approximately 1:06 p.m. a system wide email alert was sent to all students, faculty and staff with the same information that the LSC-North Harris campus was being evacuated.
“We know that there was some confusion as the chaotic shooting scene originally unfolded,” said Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor. “As we have reviewed the events of January 22, we are very grateful that the situation was brought under control very quickly, that there were minimal injuries and that the first responders, including LSCS police officers and paramedics, handled the scene with speed, efficiency and professionalism.”
Lone Star College System is using what has been learned from this incident to fine tune our emergency response plans and improve our internal systems. We will share our findings with other higher education institutions. We will also increase our efforts to encourage all students, faculty and employees actively to update their personal emergency contact information so they will receive text, voice and email messages in the event of a campus emergency. Most students do not generally provide cell phone numbers to LSCS as part of their student records; text, phone and personal email messages can only be sent to students that provide personal contact information in addition to their myLoneStar.edu email address issued by LSCS.
“Our top priority is to make sure our campuses are as safe as possible for our students, faculty and staff, and we will continue to make any improvements toward that end,” said Dr. Carpenter.
Dr. Carpenter also praised the Sheriff’s Office investigators who continue to unravel details of the shooting. “This is an ongoing investigation, and the Sheriff’s Office is doing an outstanding job, very thorough,” said Dr. Carpenter.
· LSCS is aware of complaints about some cellular phone “dead zones” on the LSC-North Harris campus. We are researching the level of cell service available for all areas of the campus, as well as the strength of the nearest cell tower and whether or not it would have been overworked with outgoing phone calls and texts during the first critical minutes of this incident.
With 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.