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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

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A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Independent review finds alert system ‘unacceptably delayed’ following 9-3 campus shooting

Los+Rios+police+officers+and+Sacramento+Firefighters+discuss+the+events+of+the+on-campus+shooting+at+City+College+Sept.+3%2C+2015.
Los Rios police officers and Sacramento Firefighters discuss the events of the on-campus shooting at City College Sept. 3, 2015.

The emergency alert system that was sent after the campus shooting death in September was “unacceptably delayed” and was caused by “human error and lack of practice and familiarization with the system,” according to the results of an independent investigation released Oct. 22 by the Los Rios Community College District.

In addition, the independent investigator, retired FBI agent Mike Rayfield, praised the efforts of Los Rios Police Department was “appropriate, expedient, professional, and executed with a sense of purpose.”

“LRPD and SPD began college-clearing operations within 39 minutes of the shooting, a testament to good organization and decisive leadership,” Rayfield stated in the report.

Through his investigation, Rayfield noted that he found multiple mistakes in the campus administrators’ preparedness of the emergency alert system. He cited that City College’s Public Information Officer Rick Brewer had difficulties logging onto the system and that he couldn’t remember the “decoy letters” needed to log on.

Rayfield issued the following recommendation:

“Consider giving the sending function to [Los Rios Police Department] Dispatchers and LRPD Sergeants. This puts the responsibility into the hands of 24/7 emergency service providers. This is not to exclude others who have access.”

The recommendation of whether to send an emergency alert stems from the findings of other colleges and universities using police dispatch because the responsibility should fall to those experienced with “sending emergency communications in stressful situations.”

The report gave additional, detailed information of the Sept. 3 on-campus shooting that killed City College student Roman P. Gonzalez. Leading up to the shooting, two groups of two individuals walked past each other, words were exchanged, and then a fistfight broke out between two of the men.

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“The verbal exchange, fistfight, stabbing, shooting and egress of two of the subjects occurred over a time period of 55 seconds,” Rayfield stated.

Los Rios Chancellor Brian King stated that he was pleased with the report and that the district “looks forward to reviewing the recommendations” that may help in the with response in the future, according to a press release sent by the district’s Office of Communications.

“The report’s findings reinforce our belief at Los Rios that campus safety and security is everyone’s responsibility,” said King. “And when our students, staff and faculty take this responsibility seriously, we create an environment that fosters teaching and learning.”

According to the report, the investigator conducted approximately 25 interviews with City College staff, district personnel and Los Rios police officers, and also reviewed hundreds of documents to come to his conclusion. Despite Rayfield’s findings, he noted that even with uncertainty contributing to the delay, campus response was diligent.

“The response by college personnel was predictably chaotic, as is common in these situations,” Rayfield stated in the report. “Training, experience and familiarity with lockdowns and evacuations, however, created an acceptable outcome for this particular incident.”

“The variety and availability of emergency preparedness training and planning is more than acceptable,” he added.

To read the full report, visit: http://www.losrios.edu/downloads/press/FinalLRCCDSCCIncidentAssessment.pdf

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