PR director says campus lockdown followed protocol

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SAPD Investigator Duffie places evidence markers at Howard and Courtland Jan. 28. Mitchell Gawlik

Shooting suspect and victim still at large

By Rogelio Escamilla and James Russell or

This campus entered a lockdown between 3:56 p.m. and 4:36 p.m. Jan. 28 after a shooting was reported at Howard Street and Courtland Place.

A San Antonio Police Department officer first heard three shots fired at 3 p.m., although this number is still unconfirmed.

SAPD Police Chief William McManus said a victim sustained a neck wound, and both the victim and the suspect are still at large.

Witnesses told SAPD officers a single victim ran toward Fletcher Administration Center. However, police did not find the victim.

A single drop of blood was found on the sidewalk between Fletcher and Dewey Place, where witnesses last saw the victim.

An evidence marker is placed at Courtland and Howard marking the victim’s blood spots, reportedly from a neck wound sustained during a shooting. An additional blood spot was located on the sidewalk corner between Fletcher and Dewey, which SAPD officers used along with witnesses to determine the victim’s direction of travel. Mitchell Gawlik

At 3:26 p.m. an alert was sent to all students, faculty and staff notifying them of “police activity in the area,” in reference to the confirmed 3 p.m. shooting.

At 3:45 p.m., SAPD and district officers began evacuating students from Loftin to search for the missing victim. Some officers were equipped with tactical gear, rifles and at least one K-9 unit.

Public relations Director Vanessa Torres said in an interview Jan. 29 the protocol for lockdown procedures was followed correctly.

“We didn’t lockdown at first because there wasn’t a credible threat,” Torres said. “Once it became a potential threat, that’s when we went into lockdown.”

Torres said the situation turned threatening when there was a second report of possible shots being fired near Loftin Student Center.

This report was made shortly after 3:45 p.m., when four loud banging sounds were heard by evacuating students near Loftin.

After the lockdown was lifted, Joe Pabon, Alamo Colleges deputy chief of police, said the Loftin report was false.

“We didn’t know for sure where the suspect or the victim were,” Torres said. “For that reason, we went into lockdown.”

After clearing Loftin, officers evacuated and searched Moody Learning Center.

Faculty and staff directed evacuated students to Fletcher Administration Center, where they remained in lockdown for 40 minutes.

Torres said an after-action meeting is planned among representatives of SAPD, Alamo Colleges Police Department, risk management, district communication, Travis Early College High School, and other representatives.

The debrief will lay out an official timeline of events and participants can reflect on actions taken, and whether any improvements should be made.

Torres said this kind of meeting usually happens two or three weeks after an incident.

Travis Early College High School senior Hector Rojas was on Dewey Place when he heard the shots.

“I was walking back to Travis,” Rojas said. “I was in the parking lot coming back, and I heard two loud pops. I didn’t know where it was coming from at first.”

Tim Hernandez, former student DJ at KYSM, was on the second floor of Longwith Radio, Television and Film Building in a room that overlooks Courtland Place, along with program director James “Hot Mustard” Velten during the shooting.

“He turned to me and said, ‘Were those gunshots?’” Hernandez said. “I said ‘I can’t tell for sure, but it sounded like it.’ He looked out the blinds. I said, ‘That’s it; make yourself a target.’ We heard the pops, but we didn’t hear a car take off. We went back to doing whatever until finally somebody came in and said, ‘Did you hear about the drive-by?’ Then we went outside.”

A slideshow of the campus lockdown can be viewed here.


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