Though students had a short fall break from classes, the university itself was open and the investigation of last week’s Mini-Dome shooting threat continued.
Notice of the threat during the Oct. 7 homecoming comedy show was sent out to students the morning following the event from an email by ETSU President Brian Noland.
Executive Assistant to the President for University Relations/Chief Communications Officer Joe Smith said the investigation is ongoing, but there was no further information on who the potential shooter was or a motive for the threat.
The Mini-Dome was evacuated as quickly and efficiently as possible and “without incident,” but other than the evacuation of the Dome, no other alarms were raised to alert students.
With university safety protocol in place for incidents such as shooting threats, Smith addressed the reasons there was no campuswide immediate warning or lockdown.
“We take each situation differently,” Smith said. “At that time, the threat was focused to a specific area inside the Dome…The evacuation that took place, and those were the steps that were taken. They didn’t have any additional information that there was a threat to the rest of the campus.”
“The public safety officer heard from two students at the event, there had been a threat overheard, that they were going to begin gunfire at 10:30 p.m.,” Smith said.
Some students who attended the event expressed belief the shooter threat was an excuse to shut down the event due to the comedian’s harsh remarks about police officers and the “truth” D.C. Young Fly said he meant to address in his performance. Fly posted a video on his Instagram following the event and said, “Everything was great. The students were having fun. … Everything was going great. Then I get on stage. … I know y’all ain’t like the stuff I was saying. It’s OK. You’ve got to hear the truth before the love and peace. My whole story was we need to come together and love each other, but you got to hear the truth first, but they didn’t want to hear the truth. Then all of a sudden a shooting threat.”
Smith said ETSU Public Safety had been notified of the threat before Fly began his act.
“When you get that information like that, you have to take it seriously,” Smith said. “It’s really important that if anyone has any information, that they come forward.”