A shooting incident west of downtown Bloomington Tuesday provoked alarm at multiple Indiana University campuses, due in part to rapidly circulated rumors that ultimately proved false.
27-year-old IU student Jesse Sneed was arrested and charged with criminal recklessness after allegedly firing shots from the balcony of his apartment building on West Arch Haven Road. No one was injured in the incident, and IU Critical Incident Communications Coordinator Kirk White says his office stayed in good contact with Bloomington police as the arrest was made, and authorities kept the neighborhood cordoned of for several more hours while the apartment was searched.
However, White says rumors quickly circulated that the shooter was somewhere on campus. He says his office responded by trying to get accurate information to students via the university’s Web site. 50 miles away at IUPUI, campus police Captain Bill Abston says a student received a text message about the shooting and feared that the incident was happening on the Indianapolis campus. He told his instructor, who locked down the classroom.
White says university officials were limited in what they could do to disseminate accurate information quickly, because IU’s new system-wide emergency notification system has not yet been implemented. The OneStart-based system that will enable authorities to send emergency messages via text messages, email, and cell phones, is scheduled to come on-line before the end of the year