SFA shooting threat not taken lightly

By Donna McCollum - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Every campus police officer was on duty. They were called in when 20 to 40 signs were found on the SFA campus with a disturbing message. It read, "A shooting will occur today and students will die." The text alert went out by 8:00 this morning.

"There were notes found on and off campus this morning. Go to sfasu.edu for more information," read Alexandra Cavnar from her phone.

Similar signs were found at the Grove Apartments, an off campus complex. Signs there read,
"Ten people will be killed and shot at the grove." Gates normally opened during the day are now locked.

"No panic in there. It's not like people are running around. Everyone is under control," said Blake Hinton, Grove resident and SFA football player.

Tips are coming in to a hotline number. One led officers to the SFA Library. Unsuspecting students were questioned because they match the vague description of a suspicious person. The university newspaper photographer was one student stopped.

"They all started looking at me and started asking questions because they are apparently looking for someone with a blue shirt, khakis and a black duffel bag," said Thomas Motyka.

The heightened security involving Texas Rangers, FBI, and local authorities is reassuring some students. Tonight Nacogdoches Police are patrolling the campus perimeter and off-duty officers are stationed at the Grove Apartments. Some students are very relaxed. It's like any other day. They are some what excited about what's going on. Then there are students who are cautious, but they're still comfortable enough to come to class. No matter what, all 12,000 students know something serious is under investigation.

"The fact UPD is all over campus, that you can't walk anywhere without being escorted is a good feeling," shared student Jerret Swierc.

Others say it's an over reaction. A group of young women stopped to express their opinions.

"This person who put up the note just wants attention," said one student. "I think if they were really going to do it that they wouldn't put up a note, but just would do it."

"It's Hell Week," added another. "It's probably a prank by some fraternity members."

SFA University Police don't look at it as a joking matter.

"We're not looking at this as a prank," said Marc Cossich, SFA UPD police chief. "We are taking it very seriously. Finally they will be arrested."

Yet, there are limits. Classes are not canceled.

"It was a tough decision," said Bob Wright, SFA spokesperson. "It really was. We did consider locking down and closing school that was closely considered."

The decision was made by top administrators that the notes were a threat, but not a "heightened threat".

Professors are asked to exercise leniency for absences and missed work.

"Anybody who feels threatened and feels like they want to stay somewhere they feel safe they should do that," expressed Dr. Gary Wurtz, a music professor. "I have no problem with that."

The biggest lesson learned by students is to know what to do when a threat happens. The university has set up an information hotline. That number is 468-5900. The Nacogdoches Police Department is also asking for any tips on who made the threats. You can call Crimestoppers at 560-INFO.

Information can be confidentially submitted via web at http://www.ncstips.com/. Tips may also be sent "NCSTIPS plus the information" to C R I M E S via text message.

All information is confidential and you do not have to give your name.  If the information given results in an arrest in this case, you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

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