The fatal shooting of a campus police officer on Thursday at Virginia Tech allowed school officials to implement emergency mechanisms that were develop and adopted after the 2007 rampage that was responsible for taking the lives of 33 individuals.
Seven minutes after the 12:30 p.m. shooting of the office officials used Twitter to send campus lockdown notices to students. According to eye witnesses the officer was making a routine stop at the campus parking lot when he was approached by a gunman on foot which shot him and then fled by foot.
The suspect was found dead by gunshot wounds just moments later at another campus parking lot with the weapon close by. The person is yet to be identified.
Officials at Virginia Tech lifted the lockdown on Thursday evening allowing students to return to their regular activities. Final exams which were to be held on Friday has been postponed till further notice.
The Massacre of 2007 had caused schools officials to be placed under serious scrutiny and criticism because they waited two hours before issuing alerts after the first bullets were fired. This allowed the gunman to fire an additional 100 bullets at his victims before taking his own life. The shooting at the school is considered among the deadliest in the history of the U.S.
School officials on Thursday responded quickly to the event sending twitter alerts, text messages and emails at 30 minute intervals.
Mark Owczariski spokesman for the school told the press that all systems were deployed immediately to get the information out.
A copy of the first twitter report reads: “Gun shots reported- Coliseum Parking lot. Stay Inside. Secure doors. Emergency personnel responding. Call 911 for help.”
The shooting happened on the same day that the University was set to appeal a $55,000 dollar fine that the US Department of Education Imposed after the school was found to be in violation of the emergency notification policy that was set back in 2007 after the shooting.
Since the shooting in 2007 Virginia Tech has done much in the way of enhancing emergency procedures through the incorporation of mobile phones, website alerts and social media use. Back in August the system was tested when reports of a gunman on campus caused a lockdown for 5 hours. The Gunman was never found.