Mo State Response to VA Shootings

Apr 17, 2007

Missouri State Officials say they're using the tragedy at Virginia Tech to make sure a similar incident doesn't happen there. KSMU's Michele Skalicky has more.

Government officials now say at least 30 people—in addition to the gunman—have been killed at Virginia Tech University. It's the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

It's not clear yet if the gunman killed himself or if he was killed by police.

The first shooting occurred at a dorm on one side of campus, and was followed at least 2 hours later by the shootings in the classroom building, which is on the other side.

The Virginia shootings have resulted in calls to Missouri State University officials by parents concerned for the safety of their children who are students at the university.

University officials say they'll increase police presence on campus for awhile as a precaution.

Gary Snavely, Director of Safety and Transportation at MO State, says the university is fortunate to have a Springfield police substation on campus. He says both they and the MO State Safety and Transportation Department have policies in place that address school shootings

Snavely says the university and the Springfield Police Dept. recently held an active shooter training session to prepare for a situation like the one that occurred today in VA

According to Gary Stewart, director of residence life and services at MO State, every reception desk in the university's residence halls are located near the main entrance and are staffed 24/7. All outside entrances are locked at 7 pm, and residents must swipe cards after that and show proof of residency to come in.

He says the custodial staff, which works 24/7, is always on alert for anything suspicious.

Earle Doman, acting V-P of student affairs at MO State, says incidents like the VA shootings, heighten even more the university official's awareness of the need to be prepared

Doman says the MO State campus, even with a population of 20,000, is close-knit and everyone tends to watch out for each other. But that doesn't mean there's a 100% certainty that something like what happened in VA couldn't happen here

MO State doesn't allow weapons or ammunition on campus. But there's no system in place to make sure students are complying with that policy. New buildings under construction might include ways to check for weapons, according to Gary Snavely.

Doman says the VA Tech shootings hit MO State administrators hard.

Gary Stewart says he told staff members today to be vigilant of the university's policies and procedures that are in place to try to prevent a shooting like the one in Virginia. He also told them to try to be a resource for students who are having difficulty dealing with the news of the shootings.