False alarm leads students to ask MU Alert for follow-up texts

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COLUMBIA - University of Missouri students are asking MU Alert for more precision when it comes to sending out 'shots fired' alerts.

MU Alert sent out a 'shots fired' tweet, text and email Sunday night for the second time in 15 days.

KOMU 8 News reached out to the MU News Bureau but it declined to talk on camera, referring to the MU Alert website.

MU student Clayton Davis said the alerts are coming off as random.

"My first thought was 'uh oh, not again' because these things have happened before when they've send out alerts about shots fired," Davis said. "Actually there was one a week or two weeks ago ."

Other students tweeted back at the alert and asked for more information.

Bryan Mink tweeted, "Is there a general area of campus you can tell us to be cautious of?"

MU Alert tweeted back, "Working to confirm with police. Will post as soon as it is."


Tony Barton said he thinks the system needs more work and alerts should be more precise.

"I appreciate them sending out a notification just to be safe," Barton said. "But the university is kind of large in terms of area. So they tell us to avoid campus at some times and to take precautionary measures. But the last few times they report shots fired have been nothing."

MU said it's first alert sent to students and tweeted out is an automatic post that goes out with a report. After the initial notification, MU said it then confirms the incident and it posts updates from there. 

Sean Walsh said he thinks MU should confirm the incident before sending an alert.

"I would much rather them confirm the information before being sent it out," Walsh said. "Last night could've just been 'boy crying wolf' and it frightened a lot of people. I know that a couple of my friends felt unsafe walking back from Ellis last night just because the alert was so vague. They need to confirm more information with the caller before sending out a blast text to perhaps 32,000+ people and scaring them."

Davis said it's a good thing the alerts are prompt because it initially makes people feel safer.

"I would say it's good to be better safe than sorry," Davis said. "If there's a chance that there might be shots fired, better to let people know the police's first suspicion rather than not saying anything at all."

MU Alert said it posts updates online, but Barton said he would like to see follow-up texts too.

"I would like a follow-up message when they have more information as opposed to what they've been doing for years, which is leaving us in the dark," Barton said.