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Saturday, June 12, 2021

UF students, police rethink safety after Las Vegas shooting

In the wake of Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting, UF students expressed concern for their safety at Homecoming.

At least 58 people were killed and almost 500 were injured after shooting, according to ABC News. Among those injured is a UF law student, who was shot and suffered a collapsed lung.

Jamie Woodrum, a UF chemistry sophomore, said the shooting put her on edge about Gator Growl.

“I’ll definitely be more aware,” Woodrum said. “(I’ll) know where the closest exits are and stuff.”

Woodrum said she thinks University Police know what to do in an active shooter situation, but students don’t.

“I feel like (UPD) should have at least sent out an email with an emergency plan,” the 20-year-old said. “Especially after the shooting just happened, just to ease people’s minds.”

GPD spokesperson Officer Ben Tobias said the best thing for people to do in an active shooter situation is to run. He said people should always have their own safety plans.

“People shouldn’t be completely surprised if something like this were to happen,” he said.

There have no been no security issues in the past at UF’s Homecoming festivities, including Gator Growl, the Homecoming parade, festival or pageant, said Millie Llanes, Gator Growl’s executive producer.

Llanes said safety is the top concern for Florida Blue Key, the student organization in charge of Gator Growl.

“We’ll do whatever to make sure everyone feels safe coming to our event,” she said

UPD spokesperson Maj. Brad Barber said he’s confident local police are prepared for emergency situations, including an active shooter.

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“Our security plan brings into account all possible scenarios,” he said. “We are constantly looking at events around the country and basing things off that.”

Tobias said he’s aware of heightened safety concerns among people attending Homecoming, but added that people may not notice all the security that goes into the event.

Tobias and Barber encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity to immediately report it to authorities and to take quick action in any dangerous situation.

“We rely on the public,” Tobias said.

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