Lucas Shenk, junior theater education major, was working on homework outside the William Allen White Library last Wednesday night, Feb. 6, when he heard gun shots south of campus.
“I was sitting outside the library working on some homework when I heard one shot and then a few seconds later about four or five more go off,” Shenk said. “It made me rather nervous because it sounded really close.”
That evening at 7:15 p.m., the Emporia Police Department (EPD) dispatch center was notified of several shots fired in the 1100 block of Mechanic Street, according to a press release from the EPD. Emporia police, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department and Emporia State police arrived on the scene at 7:18 p.m.
Authorities determined the incident was a domestic disturbance between Ricardo Castillo, 36, and his wife. Castillo allegedly fired the shots in the air outside their residence. No weapon or casings were found by the police. Castillo was taken to the Lyon County jail and confined for domestic battery and disorderly conduct.
Shenk said he was glad to learn the next day, Feb. 7, the alleged gunman had been apprehended.
Despite the incident’s proximity to campus, ESU’s emergency alert system, Rave, was not activated. Students can opt to receive “real-time info about campus closures, extreme weather, and other emergencies,” sent to their mobile devices via Rave, according to ESU’s website.
Chris Hoover, director of campus police, said a lot of thought goes into the decision to activate Rave or not, and the situation has to meet certain guidelines for the system to be activated.
The decision is determined jointly by Police and Safety, Academic Affairs and Student Life in consultation with the university general counsel, according to the University Policy Manual.
But the Feb. 6 incident was “short and quick,” Hoover said, and it “didn’t meet the criteria.”
Hoover said the situation resolved itself so quickly that there was no eminent danger to the campus or students. He also said that reporting misinformation would have been worse for this situation.
“If they (campus police) thought there was any, any potential threat to the campus community, of course they’d send out notifications,” said President Michael Shonrock in an interview with The Bulletin last Thursday afternoon.
To sign up for RAVE system go to emporia.edu/alerts.