Department of Public Safety Questioned Over Mass Shooter Threat

Marisa Vasquez, Editor-in-Chief

Monday marked the second potential shooting scare that echoed throughout Cal State LA within a span of a week following the Annex Link lab threat from an unknown caller.

Rumors of a shooter targeting the campus library surfaced on social media Monday afternoon prompting an increase in security surrounding the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library.

While the school notified the campus community via text and email as soon as the rumor came to light for this most recent incident, students were not notified of the first threat until two hours after the call.

In that event, on the Tuesday prior to Halloween, Cal State LA received a threat targeting people in the Annex Link unless they evacuated. TVF major Marlene Cordova, was in Salazar Hall nearby when she found out about the mass shooter threat; she wished information was sent out sooner.

“I think because I was so close to where it was supposed to be at, I think it would’ve been nice if the email [was] sent out when they got the call,” Cordova explained. “I probably wouldn’t have showed up for class.”

Marketing major Jennifer Rodriguez expressed her concern of the threat over social media. During an interview with the UT, she said that though the specific location of the Annex Link was investigated, the implication of a danger to those on campus should have warranted a campus-wide evacuation.

“No matter what specific building they say they are targeting, I feel like the whole campus should, regardless, be evacuated because you never know what that person is thinking of,” Rodriguez said. “You never know if they’re actually going to be targeting a specific location… You never know if they’re going to go exactly based on what they said.”

According to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a non profit corporation that documents gun-related violence in the U.S., as of Nov. 2, there have been 353 mass shootings in this year alone. 

As a precaution, the public safety department held its annual active shooter drill the week before fall semester started to better prepare themselves if an attack were to target Cal State LA. 

Though the drill is beneficial for campus safety, Rodriguez hopes a more proactive approach could be developed to consider students’ peace of mind.  

“I feel like they should be creating better protocols as far as what to do when that happens. Like when we do the evacuation drills or fire drills, a text should be sent out to everyone… [students] should be alerted as soon as possible so that they can either find a way to safety or leave the campus,” said Rodriguez.

Director of Public Safety Larry Bohannon told the UT in an email that there is a communication processes in place called the Emergency Notification System, which is at the department’s disposal if there were to be a credible threat to Cal State LA. He ensured that the department, “would direct all of [its] available resources to addressing the threat and communicating with our campus community.” The system would notify students, faculty and staff through text and email alerts once a threat is deemed credible.

Bohannon explained that despite the recent phoned-in threat, Cal State LA is amongst the safest universities in Los Angeles and that the department conducts regular training exercises to keep up with that track record.

Bohannon encourages students to call public safety at (323) 343-3700 to learn more about the drills the department uses to prepare for emergencies that may affect the campus.