Police investigating reports of gunshots

Tori Roper

Editor in Chief

Reports of gunshots after the Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 15, and into the morning of Sunday, Oct. 16, were confirmed by Troy University officials.

On Oct. 16, the university released a statement concerning reported gunshots.

“Gunshots were fired outside of Sartain Hall at the Troy Campus after midnight on Sunday, Oct. 16,” the statement said. “There were no injuries reported. An event sponsored by Omega Psi Phi fraternity was being held inside Sartain Hall at this time.”

A half-hour after midnight, the Troy University SOS system confirmed the reports and alerted students to remain inside. An hour later, the SOS system gave the all-clear.

“Campus police are investigating in cooperation with Troy City Police,” the statement said.

Troy University held a press conference at 2 p.m. Oct. 16, as a follow-up to the statement released earlier that day.

Dean of Student Services Herbert Reeves said there were no confirmed reports of shots at Fraternity Row.

“When the initial shots were fired, people went behind Hawkins (Hall) down toward Fraternity Row to get away from Sartain,” Reeves said. “There was a call that came from down around Fraternity Row that there had been shots fired.”

City of Troy Chief of Police Randall Barr said there were multiple reports of gunshots, both on and off campus. He said about half the calls his department received during that 24-hour period occurred between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“We had some officers that heard some gunfire, but couldn’t tell exactly where it was coming from,” Barr said.

According to Barr, four to six incidents of shots fired were reported to the Troy Police Department, but they could not “substantiate” them. Barr said that there were reports of shots fired at McDonald’s, Jane Road and Highway 231, among other locations.

Barr said that there is no way for the police department to determine if the reports were connected in any way to the shots fired on campus.

“That one (shots fired on campus) was pretty clear,” Barr said.  “We knew that that one was legit.”

Barr said the gunshots created “a panic,” making it difficult to reach the scene in some cases.

He also said there was one report of an injury at Troy Medical Center that looked like a gunshot, but that the victim would not cooperate with police and could not give any information.

“We’re glad overall that no one was seriously injured,” Barr said.

According to Barr, multiple arrests were made Saturday night and into Sunday morning but were not connected to the shots fired on campus.

“Last year at homecoming, we did not put the first person in jail,” Barr said. “That’s almost unheard of.”

Although there was an increase in the number of officers on the street for the weekend, Barr said there were still not enough.

John McCall, campus police chief, was not available for comment.

An email from the Office of the Chancellor was sent out to students at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, which discussed the events that occurred over the weekend, and is signed by Senior Vice Chancellors John Dew and Walter Givhan.

“The university is taking steps to ensure such an incident does not happen in the future,” the email said. “No open-to-the-public events of this nature will be allowed for the remainder of the 2016 football season.

“The University takes safety very seriously and, among other things, holds crime prevention programs, offers hands-on defense training, conducts an annual Safety Fair on the Troy Campus and uses a comprehensive SOS alert system for fast communication in the case of unexpected events.”

According to the email, Troy University was named among the safest large universities in the United States by College Choice.

“Troy is our home, and you are our family,” the email said. “We are thankful there were no injuries when shots were fired on Sunday. We are proud of Troy University and know better days are ahead.”

A video of a fight that transpired before the shots began was posted to Facebook before being removed.

The Tropolitan does not know whether the fight depicted in the video is connected to the gunshots that were fired outside of Sartain Hall.

The group that was fighting dissipated in a panic after numerous gunshots were heard being fired from nearby.

To view this video, visit tropnews.com/10166

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