1 week after UCLA shooting, UC Berkeley community reflects on campus safety

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A week ago, UC Berkeley sophomore Chelsea Evans drove to UCLA to visit her boyfriend. But before she could meet him at his residence hall, UCLA security guided her into lockdown on the first floor of the building. Instead of reuniting with her boyfriend face-to-face, she was left texting him from a supply room surrounded by strangers. There was a gunman on campus.

Evans and seven UCLA students sat and waited in the closet for hours. Rumors swirled that there were four shooters and that they had come to the hill where the residence hall was located. The students around Evans received three separate Bruin Alerts urging them not to go outside until the final alert at 12:17 p.m. informed them, “all clear.”

When Evans finally stepped into daylight after the lockdown ended, she encountered a large contingent of police officers that had responded to the shooting.

“The response — all of the LAPD — was just insane,” Evans said. “They did a perfect job. Everyone felt safe.”

Since the Columbine shootings in 1999, many universities have implemented training programs to deal with active shooter situations, according to William Taylor, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

“It’s really advantageous when media and the institutions themselves use (these incidents) to educate the population about what they can do,” Taylor said.

UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich said in an email that Berkeley UCPD officers have been training annually for active shooter situations since 2000.

UCPD routinely gives training presentations to campus faculty, staff and students, which campus departments can request for their members, according to UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode. He added that he was unaware of any minimum training standards for non-police personnel on campus.

One department, the Haas School of Business, had two active shooter training sessions last winter, according to a statement from Haas building safety coordinator Gerardo Campos.

Reich said requests for active shooter response trainings on campus have increased after the UCLA shooting.

Evans still feels uncertain about campus security, and she expressed concern about how easy it is for anyone to enter campus buildings.

“Even at Berkeley … it’s just not safe,” Evans said. “The event that happened at UCLA can happen on any college campus.”

UC Berkeley senior Tre’Shunn Harlan, who watched the incident unfold on a laptop in a friend’s apartment across the street from UCLA, accompanied his friend to the campus when the lockdown ended.

As they walked through the grieving campus, Harlan passed students crying on street curbs. He had considered UCLA the most beautiful campus he had ever visited, but on that day, the whole atmosphere had changed.

“I always knew it could happen anywhere,” Harlan said. “But I never would have thought UCLA.”

Contact Sally Littlefield at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @slittlefield3.