RSU To Assess Recent On-Campus Shooting
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - The Claremore campus of Rogers State University is trying to get back to normal, just three days after a shooting that ended with a suicide.
Police said a former Tulsa police officer, 38-year-old Thomas Fees, shot at his former girlfriend on school grounds, then shot and killed himself.
12/6/2014 Related Story: Former Tulsa Police Officer Identified As RSU Campus Shooter
Monday, the campus was calm, as most students were either taking or studying for exams; but Friday night was a different story.
"I thought it was a fire drill,” said one parent of an RSU student who received one of the many alerts that night.
The alert Heraghty almost ignored Friday was anything but a drill.
12/5/2014 Related Story: Police: RSU Claremore Campus Secure After Shots Fired
Her daughter is an art student at RSU and regularly studies in the building police said Fees targeted.
"The next message was like three, four minutes later, I picked up and it said 'all students remain in your secure area,''" Heraghty said.
By that time, her daughter had called and said she was safe and not on campus; but Heraghty still said she appreciated the updates.
"I was getting texts on my phone, phone calls on my phone, phone calls on the land line, and emails and my daughter was getting three. So, we were getting seven notifications at one time," she said.
Looking back on Friday, RSU President Larry Rice said they used it as a learning experience.
He said the small size of the Claremore campus proved to be an obvious advantage.
"We only have three entrances and exits, so it was sealed off rather quickly and rather tight," Rice said.
He said the school officers regularly train for active shooter drills with other law enforcement. In fact, one was scheduled for Sunday.
"While we're sensitive to this terrible incident that happened here, it's a learning experience for us and it certainly can happen anytime, anywhere, but that's why we train," said Rice.
As for what can be worked on, Rice said the school could use more staff on hand in case of emergencies.
"We could've used another councilor Friday night. So that became clear to me that we needed to make use of having more community resources on call," he said.
Rice also said a more centralized form of communication for all the jurisdictions that responded would be useful.
"We will be stronger and we'll be better prepared, Heaven forbid it should happen again," he said.
Rice said the Campus Incident Staff and Threat Assessment Review Committee plan to sit down together as well.
In addition to active shooter, Rice said his staff prepares for things like weather emergencies and chemical spills.
He said another thing they could work on is alerting not just students, but the people living around the campus, when there is an emergency.