UNC Charlotte Receives External Review of 2019 Campus Shooting

WBT Newsroom
June 29, 2020 - 4:14 pm
A committee formed in the wake of the shooting on the North Carolina college campus last April has proposed a $1 million memorial to honor the victims.

(David T. Foster III/The Charlotte Observer via AP, File)

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On April 30, 2019 a shooting on the campus of UNC Charlotte took the lives of Riley Howell and Reed Parlier and injured four other students in the Kennedy Building. The school has received the external review it commissioned from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and the National Police Foundation.

The report focused on four primary areas: leadership, relationships and preparedness; threat assessment; crisis communication; and mental health, resilience and recovery. While the full report is considered confidential, a summary of the findings has been released.

“UNC Charlotte did many things right on April 30, 2019, and in the days and months that followed,” said Sue Riseling, now-retired IACLEA executive director, who oversaw the review process. “We made several recommendations for ways in which UNC Charlotte can strengthen their readiness for emergencies and crises, including the refinement and additional practice of existing plans and procedures. However, even with these recommendations, it was clear in our review that there was no information available to UNC Charlotte prior to the incident that would have identified the shooter as a threat or prevented the tragedy that unfolded.”

The report says initial law enforcement response to the classroom and arrest of the suspect was fast and effective. It also said first responders rendered aid, secured the scene and handled the shooter in a professional manner consistent with law enforcement best practices.

While the report praised UNC Charlotte’s quick response to securing the campus by initiating a campus-wide lockdown, it said there were no articulated parameters for declaring the campus safe or ending the lockdown. It also said command and control of the response was transferred from campus police to CMPD without advance coordination of certain decisions. As a result, the report says inconsistent directions were provided to students and staff who were released as buildings were cleared, and coordination of student transport to the family reunification center and the dissemination of information was limited.

The review produced 31 findings and 79 recommendations for the school’s consideration, many of which had already been addressed. Some steps UNC Charlotte will take include reviewing and revising the Emergency Operations Plan and the configuration and location of the Emergency Operations Center, reviewing and revising the crisis communications plan, reviewing training programs for dealing with campus emergencies and more.

“I appreciate the thoroughness and professionalism of IACLEA and NPF in completing this review,” said Chancellor Phillip Dubois. “Nothing can take away the grief of April 30 or the pain of losing Reed and Riley, but we hope to show our commitment to honoring their memory through our actions going forward. We take this report’s recommendations seriously, and we hope other universities and colleges around the nation will also benefit from the findings.” 

Listen to Joe Gillespie's report...

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