Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

State News

January 23, 2014

Report of campus shooting tests university’s emergency response system

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“I think having amateurs who are unidentified to the SWAT team running around with guns is absolutely the worst thing that can be done. I am strongly opposed to arming people and putting guns in the hands of people who don’t have training.”

OU sophomore Alexi Smith said he was in Gittinger Hall coming down the stairs when he saw everyone huddled by the door and everyone was told they could not go outside.

Smith said his next class was in Gaylord Hall, next to Gould Hall, so as he walked down the South Oval, he saw police with assault rifles.

“It’s scary,” OU student Natalyia Krempovska said.

Krempovska was leaving a zoology class at nearby Dale Hall when she saw the police officers.

Sophomore Jake Odgers stayed in Gaylord Hall for about 35 minutes during the incident, but he said he wasn’t really scared.

“President Boren came in and gave us the go ahead to leave. He mentioned something about everything’s OK and it could have been just equipment backfiring,” Odgers said.

None of the students or faculty interviewed reported hearing anything resembling shots fired on campus. Students said communication from Boren was reassuring and campus life quickly resumed to normal when police gave the all clear. 

Boren said he was pleased with the emergency response, which went out to the entire campus. He appreciated the Norman SWAT team responding so quickly.

The Norman Police Department said approximately 20 to 25 officers, including the SWAT team, assisted the University of Oklahoma Police Department during the incident. Medical and fire departments also were standing by, according to a police press release.

In 2005, a University of Oklahoma student committed suicide near the Botany Micro-Biology Building on the South Oval north of Gould Hall during a home football game. The student detonated an explosive device attached to his body. No one else was injured.

Senior staff writer Joy Hampton contributed to the report.

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