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By: Camden Lazenby | firstname.lastname@example.org and Jeremy Moser | email@example.com
Update Oct. 30 4:06 p.m.
Radford University is back to normal operations, per the RU Emergency Alert System, after local law enforcement responded to reports of gunshots off-campus.
Police went to the 500 block of Fairfax Street at 8:25 p.m., Oct. 29 and an RU alert went out to students about 20 minutes after.
A “return to normal operations” was announced by the RU Emergency Alert System at 11:15 p.m.
Caitlyn Scaggs, the Associate Vice President of University Relations, confirmed “an all clear was issued.”
Jenni Wilder, the Public Information Coordinator for Radford City said, “This is an isolated incident and a static event. This is not an active shooter event.”
According to a 10:15 p.m. update from WFXR, Scaggs said, “Social media reports of shots fired on campus are false. No injuries have been reported. The campus is not on lockdown but individuals are encouraged to remain inside until an all clear is issued.”
Despite campus not being on lockdown, multiple students reported being urged into safer rooms. Students who were outside at the time of the alert found themselves unable to enter the buildings, using their RU ID, that they normally had access to.
Student employees in RU’s Recreation and Wellness Center appeared to be left to themselves to decide what to do, according to Radford Student Allison Scherner.
“They baracaded the doors at some point and I didn’t see any adult-adults honestly it was only student employees,” said Scherner.
She was waiting in a locker room because student employees weren’t allowing anyone to leave out the front door, “when student employees came in and the second alert goes out and that’s when they hearded everyone,” said Scherner.
“And they came in to the locker room and were yelling for everyone to get out and go into the closet things. Then we stayed in there for hours and then they let us out to roam the floor but everyone was over everything and sat around.”
She doesn’t think the employees did anything wrong, noting they gave them a fan “because it was super hot in the closet.”
“I never saw like anyone that didn’t look like a college student until I saw the one old man police [officer] patrolling the floors later when they let us out.”
According to a statement released by Wilder at 9:27 p.m., “Police located a witness that described a red four door Ford Fusion that was approached on foot by a light skinned African American male.”
He was described as 5’10” tall and was said to be wearing a red jacket, by a witness, according to police. The RU Alert students received said the suspect was wearing an orange jacket.
Wilder said, “The unknown suspect male fired approximately four gunshots near/at the vehicle and then fled on foot.”
Tire marks show the car went through the edge of a front yard of a house on Fairfax Street. The car then “struck another parked vehicle as it left the area,” leaving glass shattered across the scene and badly damaging a RU student’s car.
Wilder confirmed Radford University Police Department received a call over the night about possible shots heard near the 7/11 on Tyler Avenue, across the street from Tyler Hall.
“Radford city police responded and investigated and the reports were unfounded,” said Wilder.
No suspects are in custody at this time for the incident on Fairfax Street but Radford City Police are continuing to investigate.
Note: Quotes from Scherner were sent to The Tartan via Facebook Messenger and were lifted directly. A witness that we previously quoted had their identity removed because of the ongoing investigation.
Around 8:43 p.m., shots were fired near the 400 block of Fairfax Street, less than a mile from Radford’s campus.
Text and email alerts were sent to students and their parents, warning them of the danger and advising them to stay indoors.
The suspect, a black male in an orange coat and black pants approximately 5’10” in height, was last seen heading towards campus.
Students are advised to report suspicious activity to RUPD at 540-731-3624.
This post will be updated as the story develops.
Photo Credit: (Dylan Lepore – The Tartan)
Featured Image: University computers locked up with a full-screen alert about the shooting.