On Monday at 3:27 p.m., an R-Alert notified students, faculty, and staff that an active shooter was on campus. However, it is now clear that the individual was not armed, no shots were fired, and no individuals were harmed.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the suspect fled to campus from a Casselberry Walmart in an apparent auto theft. The suspect was armed at first, but ditched the gun before he reached Rollins. The Winter Park Police and Casselberry Police were involved the entire time.
Rollins sent out the R-Alert as soon as a problem was apparent. It was not confirmed that the suspect was unarmed until he was apprehended and arrested.
Eight minutes after the initial “active shooter” alert was sent out, an “All clear,” message was released asking students to “Please resume normal activities.”
The eight minutes before the “All clear,” message, though, left many students and faculty in a panic.
Dior Mbengue ‘19 was in a marketing class when her classmate received the initial notification. At first, she said, the class thought the person who announced it was joking. Then, she immediately pictured the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting and started to cry.
“I was bawling,” she said. “I was just thinking about [the Parkland students] and that this is how they died.”
Luckily, the incident did not escalate to the extent of the Parkland shooting; however, the feeling that it could happen at Rollins was a reality check for many students.
“I was pretty panicked and the people around me were too,” said Emily Nomberg ‘21. Nomberg was on the patio of Dave’s Boathouse when she received the notification. She immediately went inside where she and the other people in Dave’s were taken into the food storage area of the C-Store.
Some students barricaded the doors while others called their parents to tell them what was happening.
“I thought Rollins did a great job getting out the message,” Nomberg noted. “Within 30 seconds, we got a text, phone call, and an email. They were efficient in getting us into a safe place and would not let us leave until they were sure it was resolved.”
For those students who still have concerns or post-traumatic stress about the incident, the Wellness Center offers open walk-in hours for counseling between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m daily.