Troy University responds to shooting threat

Published 10:13 am Friday, September 22, 2017

Troy University increased its police presence Thursday after rumors spread that a shooting would take place on the campus at noon.

Herbert Reeves, Dean of Student Services, said the threat first came last week when a message was found written on the bathroom wall at the Trojan Dining Hall.

“The writing on the bathroom wall is the only threat that we have received,” Reeves said. “It just stated a day and time for the shooting to take place.”

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The message said the shooting would occur September 21 at noon. While noon passed without incident, the increased police presence continued throughout the day and Reeves said it could be in place throughout the week.

“We will continue until we determine there is no longer a threat,” Reeves said.

Reeves said there were approximately 16 officers on patrol in all, compared to just four sworn officers and three security guards on an everyday basis. The Troy Police Department and the Pike County Sheriff’s Office assisted in beefing up security on the campus.

Troy sent out an email to all students over its SOS system to take extra precautions as they went about their day and to notify police of any suspicious persons or circumstances.

Reeves said there’s speculation that the person who wrote the note on the bathroom wall may be an older person, as the message referenced the university as “Troy State.” Troy dropped the “State” from its name in 2005.

Reeves said the threat turned into rumors this morning with whispers of two more threatening notes being found.

“University police responded to a call this morning that a note had been found in Smith Hall but had been discarded,” Reeves said. They interviewed a young lady there who said she had heard it from another friend, who said she had gotten a text about the threat, not a note. We tracked that back and she had heard it from another friend. It was all based on the original incident.”

A concerned student did call the police Thursday afternoon when she spotted two men wearing masks and carrying what appeared to be weapons in the math and science complex, Reeves said.

“Officers made contact with these two individuals,” Reeves said. “They were wearing bear masks and had a plastic sword and axe. They said they were supposed to be meeting someone there and that it was part of an act. We told them they needed to take their masks off and carry them wherever they were going. It was a not a good time and day to be doing that.”

“I witnessed the students wearing the mascot heads,” said Troy student Jordan Leigh Sandager. “After receiving the email this morning, it was very alarming to witness it.”

Some other students said the safety concern changed the way they went about their day.

“I skipped my one o’clock because I had heard a rumor stating math & science and smith were the main targets around the 12:30 (p.m.) time,” said Courtney Cole. “My class let out at 12:20 and I high-tailed it out and went home. My anxiety was through the roof because of it.”

“I skipped my one class because honestly I put going to one class below my safety and sanity,” said Kendall Newton. “You can never be too safe in my opinion. These things can happen anywhere.”

Other students went about their day as normal.

“Since Dean Reeves didn’t say it was a threat and clarified that campus will operate normally, it honestly didn’t impact my day at all,” said Nathaniel Rodriguez. “I treated it as a joke.”