Active Shooter Forces GCU Security To Lock Students In
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Student Life

Active Shooter Forces GCU Security To Lock Students In

On March 29, 2019, Grand Canyon University students were naively enjoying their poolside weekend when their phones buzzed in unison. GCU entrances were on lock-down until further notice. They wouldn't tell us why.

Active Shooter Forces GCU Security To Lock Students In

On Friday, March 29, at approximately 11 a.m. nearly all Grand Canyon University students received a shocking, campus-wide message that read, "GCU ALERT: Phoenix Police is working an emergency call in the area of 33rd Ave south of Camelback. 33rd Ave and 34th Ave entrances will be closed until resolved."

No one knew the real reason behind the "emergency call." My friend Jaden quickly sat up and informed me of the message as phones all around us continued to buzz. Sirens echoed in the background, but anyone who lives in the downtown Phoenix area usually ignores the warnings. This time we paid attention. Campus security rushed around—motioning to one another and making indecipherable calls on their radios. It wasn't until 2 p.m. (the same day) that students received a second text, saying, "GCU ALERT: Phoenix police are still searching for 1 suspect south of main campus. 2 of 3 suspects are in custody. South entrances will remain closed for now."

No one spoke about the incident. Was campus security attempting to lock out a nearby intruder? Speculation led some to believe that the intruder was already within the gates.

Only days before, a dumpster fire had filled my Old Testament with billows of a smoky stench. As a succession of campus policemen and nearby firefighter rushed by, one of my classmates questioned them,

"Is there a shooting?"

If only campus security had known his words were prophetic.

After finishing our time at the pool, Jaden and I sauntered towards our last classes of the day, observing the whispering of campus security and the confusion of the students passing by. Immediately after sitting down, I turned to question my classmates about the incident. Someone quickly commented,

"It was a shooting. The police are still searching for the third suspect."

I assumed his claim was only speculation. Phones buzzed again a moment later:

"2:24 p.m. : GCU ALERT: Phoenix Police have concluded their search. We have been cleared to resume normal operations and south entrances will be opened back up."

We were still in the dark. Security continued to withhold any information about the incident. I was determined to discover the facts. After scouring the internet for any news broadcasts or articles, I realized that no news stations had covered the Camelback Road emergency call.

On March 30, I again enlisted the company of my friend Jaden. I planned to interrogate security about the alleged "shooting," while Jaden wisely hung back and provided moral support. We hurried to Security Headquarters, where I attempted to secure some answers from a nearby policeman. He was reluctant to speak, sputtering,

"Are you with a news station? Unless you have permission or a supervisor I can talk to, I can't tell you anything. I'm not at liberty to disclose any information for public record."

Jaden and I persisted—locating and badgering a second security officer until he admitted,

"They didn't tell us anything. All we did was block off the school so that the guy couldn't get in."

He kindly pointed me to another lead. After a series of calls, the operator finally redirected me to a "Media Relations" line. The phone line turned out to be a dead end.

On Sunday, March 31, I approached another anonymous authority on the incident. They proceeded to ask me,

"Why do you want to know?"

I smiled nervously, "I'm here to become an investigative journalist. I want to write about it."

That fact seemed to appeal to them. They adjusted their radio, admitting,

"It was a shooting. I'm not supposed to tell you about it—"

Why not?

On Monday, April 1, I again attempted to reach a Media Relations Public Information Officer. The phone calls failed. Instead, I reached out to the security guard who'd spoken with me the day before. They offered me information, only to retract it minutes later:

"My boss says no information until the Phoenix PD releases it."

Minutes later, I secured contact with a Phoenix police officer, who agreed to do some investigating. They soon informed me that two separate incidents had occurred south of 33rd Avenue and Camelback Road. However, both incidents had allegedly been:

"wrapped up and put away."

The officer became increasingly frustrated as she continued to ask,

"I need more details, ma'am. Do you have any names of the victims involved? All I've found is that there were two incidents south of Camelback Road, but neither matches your description. They also didn't happen on March 29."

"All I know is that there were allegedly three shooters and Phoenix police were searching for the third."

"Nothing I have here says that there were multiple shooters. The only information we get is from detectives unless parole takes care of it."

"You found nothing with multiple alleged shooters?"

"No. Nothing."

The GCU Security messages have explicitly described three suspects. I thanked the officer for her time before she hung up. We were left to believe that detectives were still out on the case.

Grand Canyon University Security was protecting us from something on March 29, 2019.

No one knew exactly what it was.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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