BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) - Louisiana State University’s campus was quiet Tuesday evening (Aug. 20), as a handful of students mulled around while a group of students stood in line for free food, with no indication of the fear that swept through the school only hours earlier.
Shortly before 3 p.m., LSU sent out an alert that there had been reports of an armed intruder in Coates Hall, telling the students to “run, hide or fight.” As police combed through the building and its surroundings, students waited anxiously for more information.
Freshman Adiyeh Midouin said she was off campus when the alert went out, her roommate warning her not to come back.
“My mom just left me yesterday, so this is my first full day by myself and to hear that was kind of nerve-racking," Midouin said. “I tried to make it seem as docile as possible. I didn’t want to scare her.”
Midouin is one of many first year students who just moved onto campus only three days earlier.
Even though classes haven’t started yet, freshmen like Midouin, Devan Sanders, Loong Pancoast and Ian Granger been exploring campus. So, when the alert came down, everyone was ordered to shelter in place.
“Our RA stopped us and told us that something happened on campus and we need y’all to stay inside. I wasn’t really worried about it. I’m glad he stopped us because we could’ve come outside and anything could’ve happened,” Sanders said.
“We were just in the gym, and they made an announcement over the speaker, and they were like, ‘we can’t leave, it’s all on lockdown,” Pancoast said.
“We were walking past Coates and we noticed some police, and we thought it was interesting, so we kept walking, and we got the email and some guy kind of ushered us into a room,” Granger said.
Despite the concern the initial alert caused, these new students said communication was clear and concise and leaders were well-informed.
“We had updates on our phones, which were really useful,” Loong said.
Ally Dicke, also a freshman, said the updates helped keep her at ease, during what could have been a very scary situation.
“We have a big text chain for our whole floor and she was constantly alerting us with up-to-date information, so I felt pretty safe the whole time,” Dicke said.
In fact, students who spoke to FOX 8 said the school’s response to Tuesday’s potential threat puts them a little more at ease.
“It actually made me feel much more safe, because it helps me know they’re there and are willing to protect us if there’s any real threat of danger,” Sanders said.
“That situation scared me but, other than that, I feel pretty safe with the police,” Midouin said.
Campus police said issued an all-clear alert just before 5 p.m., and a university representative later said they believe an off-duty officer in plane clothes was walking with a gun on his belt, likely sparking the initial call.