A 45-minute delay sending a lock down text after an on-campus shooting in Sacramento this week could have been fatal.

Three Sacramento City College students were victims of on-campus gun violence. One student died and two others were injured, one seriously with multiple gunshot wounds.

The students were leaving an afternoon class when, at 3:56 p.m., an altercation between four people occurred on the edge of campus. The shots could be heard throughout the campus.

“As soon as we learned of the incident, SCC’s main campus was placed on lockdown, and a college-wide alert was sent by email, text, and cell phone message,” wrote Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, Sacramento City College President in an email to students. “The Los Rios and Sacramento Police departments immediately responded, and the campus was placed on lockdown. Once the buildings had been checked to ensure safety, students and staff were evacuated. The police departments have been investigating the crime scene in the hours since this tragic event.”

A text to students and staff was sent at 4:41pm, 45 minutes after the shooting, despite police being on the scene almost immediately. The text was succinct:

“Students and Staff: SCC main campus currently locked down due to gunshots fired. Shelter in place until further notice.”

“Witnesses report that the on-scene response from campus police was immediate, and that additional local emergency responders were right behind them. So, waiting 45 minutes to send the lockdown text is inexcusable,” says Paul Feist, Principal, Senior Analyst and CPTED CPD, with the Soteria Group, who has 25 years’ experience in law enforcement. “A delay that long could have cost students their lives. Thankfully it didn’t.”

“We design systems for campus security that can get students the information they need in minutes, not almost an hour. Campuses throughout the country can rely on us to keep their students safe with these systems,” says Feist. “Part of the solution is technology, but the best technology is no more important than a well-trained staff.”

“In spite of there being only one main artery for students to drive onto and off of the campus, before they locked down the facility, hundreds of people were able to exit, including the gunman,” says Richard H. Price Principal, Senior Analyst, CPTED CPD with Soteria Group, Safety by Design, who served 21 years as an FBI Special Agent.

Campus security officials and administrators should let the Soteria Group help design a more responsive alert system that will alert students and staff more quickly. Let us train your staff how to keep your campus safe.