Dixie State students received alert of ‘suspicious man’ on campus, feared a school shooting

Southern Utah

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) – During the second week of classes, Dixie State University students were alerted to a “suspicious” person on campus, leading many students to believe there could be a school shooting.

Students received a series of texts through the emergency alert system that a man wearing a bulletproof vest and camouflage pants was heading towards the center of campus just after 2:30 p.m. Monday.

“This girl started crying out of nowhere and everyone started looking at their phones and got an alert,” said DSU freshman Emme Leavitt.

DSU junior Ky Fisher said his classmates started to hide and barricade doors.

“We thought, ‘What’s our plan if he comes in here?'” Fisher said. “We put all our stuff down and huddled up in a corner, and we actually put the blinds down.”

The man was initially spotted by a resident assistant, and shortly after a campus employee notified police of the man’s location, according to DSU chief of police Blair Barfuss.

Barfuss said campus police along with St. George police made contact with the man, who told them he was handling personal business on campus.

“He was wearing a motorcycle protective vest that the original complainant believed looked like a bulletproof vest,” Barfuss added.

At that point, police determined the man hadn’t committed any crimes, and students received another text 20 minutes after the first alert that they could return to their normal activities.

“The good thing was the immediate response, not only from Dixie State University police but our partnership with St. George City Police Department,” said Barfuss.

DSU police added that they were pleased with how swiftly the event was handled and how seriously students took the situation.

Barfuss said that some students complained of both not receiving enough alerts and receiving too many through multiple platforms.

“I think it’s better safe than sorry,” Fisher added. “We’re just kind of proud of how the campus security acted.”

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