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Thursday, July 07, 2022

SFCC evaluates emergency system after gun scare

An SFCC student accused of pointing a gun at another student made a first appearance in court Wednesday while SFCC administration spent the day evaluating its crisis management.

Police believe student Talon Deante Jackson, 21, pointed a gun at another student in the SFCC food court Tuesday afternoon.

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office obtained an arrest warrant for Jackson after interviewing witnesses and the victim, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Keith Faulk.

By 3 p.m., most students and employees had been evacuated from the Northwest Campus where the incident occurred.

"It affected basically everyone on campus in one way or another in terms of disruption," Faulk said. "We're just thankful that nobody got hurt, either with the weapon or by leaving the area."

On Wednesday morning, SFCC employees voiced concerns to administration and police at a meeting in the campus gymnasium.

One concern was that some people weren't notified of the threat until a few hours afterward. Some hadn't received or checked the phone and e-mail messages the administration sent out.

Others asked how staff and students can be accounted for in case of a future threat.

SFCC President Jackson Sasser, who had been visiting parts of campus Wednesday morning, said those concerns had been echoed by other students and staff members.

Sasser said his administration has already identified a few changes that might be made.

For example, department chairpersons might go from classroom to classroom delivering emergency messages, Sasser said.

In addition, SFCC will rework its phone system and install a siren system on March 1 that will alert those on campus of potential emergencies.

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Administration and police also discussed the possibility of turning all campus traffic lanes into exit lanes during emergencies to cut down the evacuation time, Sasser said.

"We're going to walk through every phase of this," he said. "We can sit back and pick each moment apart."

The SFCC crisis management team will hold a meeting Friday to evaluate the response procedures used.

Across town, Alachua County Judge William Davis formally advised Jackson that he had been charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of possession of a weapon on a school campus. Jackson was appointed an attorney and his bond was set at $800,000, said Spencer Mann, State Attorney's Office spokesman.

He will have to pay 10 percent of the bond, or $80,000, in order to leave jail.

Gainesville bail bondsman Sean Thomas of Roundtree Bonding Agency said it's going to be almost impossible for Jackson to make bail.

"The only way he's going to get out is a bond reduction," Thomas said.

Thomas, who said he thinks judges often make arbitrary decisions when setting bonds, said the amount was justified because of Jackson's extensive criminal background.

Faulk said the bond was set so high because of the chaos the incident caused and the manpower that was needed to resolve it.

"Obviously, the judge looked at that and wanted to send a very strict message," Faulk said. "If you're going to bring a gun to campus, you're going to be dealt with very harshly."

Mann said the next phase will be Jackson's arraignment, where he will enter a plea in a few days.

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