At 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Michigan State University police informed students of a person seen with a knife “at or near” West Circle Drive through an MSU alert. The suspect was located by East Lansing police and was taken into custody before 1:30 p.m.
Psychology senior Ariel Zander was walking to class when she got the alert. She changed her plans and went into the nearest building, Olds Hall, to take shelter.
“It’s kind of confusing because MSU isn’t really saying anything,” Zander said as she was sheltering in place. “Now with these alerts it’s more serious because before the shooting I didn’t really take them serious but now it’s more scary.”
“I’m definitely on edge,” Zander said.
Genomics and molecular genetics sophomore Emily Schley, was also confused by the alert.
“I do think that one thing that should have been specified in the original alert sent out by the MSU police was that the police were going after the guy because I wasn’t quite clear on that,” said Schley. “Initially, it kind of seemed like, oh, you know, saw this guy, you know, be on alert or whatever the heck it said, but it didn’t seem like there was action being taken …. I feel like they should stick with they’re actively in pursuit.”
The Feb. 13 mass shooting on campus prompted the university the to require MSU IDs to get inside many academic buildings between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. — meaning academic buildings were still open to the public during the time that the alert went out.
“It’s one of the things where you don’t feel safe indoors anymore,” Schley said.
Journalism senior Brooke Miller was in a lecture in the Communication Arts and Sciences building when her professor paused the class to ask students what was going on. Her professor then told the class to stay on top of the alert and let him know of any updates.
“We’re kind of tense but we just keep going,” Miller said.
In a video posted to Twitter at 2:01 p.m., Police Chief Chris Rozman said there was no danger to the public and the suspect had been take into custody by police. He said the department acknowledged that the alerts sent out in response to Wednesday's incident may have triggered emotions.
"We know that this incident may have been impact for many and the alerts that we sent may have invoked a range of emotions," Rozman said. "We validate that and acknowledge that while wanting to provide an accurate update at the same time."
For resources, the MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services, or CAPS, is available 24/7 by calling (517) 355-8270.
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