Campus reels from lockdown

Story by Gavin Pugh | Digital Managing Editor and McKenna Middleton | Page One Editor and video by Jacquelyn Kellar | Broadcast Managing Editor and Katie Mahaffey | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor campus was on lockdown from 2:53 p.m. to 3:37 p.m Thursday due to the presence of an active shooter.

The shooter, Tyrell Jordan Dever, 26, was arrested by Waco police at 4 p.m. Thursday. He has since been charged with the murder of Frederick Lee Clark, 20.

The shooting took place on 9th St. and Garrett Ave. at a parking lot where two men were gambling, Waco police reported on their Facebook page. Dever allegedly approached the men, and shot Clark in the stomach and fled by vehicle, Waco police reported.

“There is no indication that additional citizens, Baylor staff or students are in any immediate danger. The shooting is not a random shooting and does not in anyway involve others outside our immediate crime scenes,” Waco police posted on its Facebook page.

Officers mark the sight of Thursday’s shooting. Photo credit: Molly Atchison

Waco police reported that the driver was then seen at 7th St. and Ivy Ave. leaving his vehicle. KWTX reported that officers were searching for an older, gold vehicle in connection with the shooting.

Baylor Alerts sent out a text message at 2:53 p.m. telling students to stay inside due to a “Dangerous Situation.” Students were instructed to take shelter in nearby classrooms and to stay away from windows and doors. They sent a total of five messages.

Photo credit: Gavin Pugh

This comes less than 24 hours after students received Baylor Alert System messages Wednesday that turned out to be false.

“Attention. There is an emergency alert on campus. Calmly evacuate all buildings using available exits,” the 8:30 p.m. message read.

According to an email from Baylor Alert, the Baylor Police Department received reports of students and other universities receiving this message although there was no emergency on campus.

“Our officers began investigating and learned that this text message did not come from Baylor Alert, which is Baylor’s official emergency notification system,” according to a Baylor press release. “It was later determined that the emergency message from Wednesday night came from another Texas institution that recently switched to the same service provider Baylor and other universities use.”

The emergency message originated at Lone Star College due to “a potential gas leak at LSC-University Park,” Lone Star College posted on Twitter.

“Last night, every phone call or every message that went out was for somebody that had an association [with Lonestar],” said Todd Piett, CPO for Rave Mobile Safety, in an ABC 13 article. “Lonestar happens to be a pretty big school and has a big online presence and an extended list of people.”

If a Baylor student had ever attended Lone Star College, their information was still in that system and that is why they received the text.

“It is important that our campus community knows that official emergency notifications will always come from Baylor Alerts,” said Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for Media Relations and Crisis Communications. “That’s why we use multiple notification channels [text, email, twitter, website] and we continue to evaluate all of our alert systems and make updates as needed.”

Although Wednesday’s alert turned out to be unrelated to Baylor, the false emergency texts caused conflict during Thursday’s shooting incident. Brentwood, Tenn., senior Patrick Hall was driving behind a police car slowly through nearby neighborhoods before receiving the alert.

Baylor students take shelter during the campus lockdown Thursday. Photo credit: Sarah Pyo
Baylor students take shelter during the campus lockdown at Moody Library Thursday. Photo credit: Robert Girdner

“When I first got the text, I thought it was something like last night – just a fake text – but then I remembered what I saw earlier,” Hall said. “I realized this might be serious and I texted in all my groupme’s saying we need to get inside and let Baylor PD do their job.”

At 3:37 p.m., Baylor sent out an “all clear” alert to end the lockdown and to allow “normal operations” to resume. The “all clear” was sent when “Waco and Baylor police departments determined there was no imminent threat to the campus,” according to a subsequent email sent out from Baylor Alert.

“We know there were some issues, but we are grateful for the cooperation of our students, faculty and staff once they received the Baylor Alert through when they received the ‘all clear’ from Baylor and Waco Police,” the Baylor press release said.

Lindsey McLemore contributed to this report.