CASPER, Wyo -- Casper College Director of Public Relations Rich Fujita received a call from campus security at 9:17 a.m. Friday. A homicide had been reported on campus. He was told Casper police believed the suspect was deceased.
By 9:18 a.m., the campus was on lockdown and Fujita had sent a message to the campus emergency alerts system. Some students immediately received the message. Others didn't. Fujita called Inspiron Logistics, the college's provider for the wireless emergency notification system. There was an overload in its network. The message was going to more than 2,000 faculty and students. Minutes later, everyone in the alerts network had received it.
"I haven't heard a single concern," Fujita said. "People who didn't receive the message didn't sign up."
Casper police say 25-year-old Chris Krumm killed Casper College math instructor Heidi Arnold, 42, at her home on Hawthorne Avenue on Friday morning, then went to the college's Wold Physical Science Center and killed his father, computer science instructor Jim Krumm, 56, before killing himself. Police say the suspect used a knife on Arnold and himself and shot his father with a compound bow before plunging a knife into him.
After a tragedy, grading the efficiency of an emergency response offers little solace for the lives lost. But it provides an opportunity to see what went well and why. Fujita said the campus emergency response ran without a glitch. In the coming weeks, there are plans for the college to assess the system's efficiency. As far as necessary improvements, he said, there aren't many.
The Clery Act is a federal law requiring all colleges and universities with financial aid programs to issue alerts in emergency situations. The law also mandates that colleges and universities submit annual security reports and keep crime logs throughout the year.
For three years, Fujita said, the college has posted fliers, passed out information and educated students on what to do in emergency situations.
In the past 18 months there have been three emergency drills on campus. One was an active shooter drill in which police, fire and EMS personnel and other officials practiced what to do in a situation like Friday's.
"That is the entire reason things went well," Fujita said.
All students receive printed manuals detailing how to deal with an armed person.
If schools have plans on paper and not in practice, the fundamentals are missing, said Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services.
"Too often there's a disconnect between policy and plans and what actually happens in schools," he said.
Not at Casper College, Fujita said.
"After having had the drills, it was fresh enough in our minds none of us needed to refer to these guides," he said.
Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh said his department received its first call to respond at 9:06 a.m. Friday. By 9:10 a.m., 11 officers were inside the building. At 9:11, officer Joseph Nickerson reported that the bodies of Chris and Jim Krumm were down.
"Their training kicked in and it was absolutely amazing," Walsh said.
Police have changed their response tactics for violent situations at schools since the killings at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.
No longer are officers on the outside looking in at a crime scene. Trump said law enforcement's old method was to set a perimeter and initiate a tactical response. Now, he said, the goal in active shooter training is to not waste time - enter the building as quickly as possible and neutralize the suspect.
The motivations of someone like Chris Krumm can never be predicted, said Abigail Boyer, communications director for the Clery Center for Security on Campus in Pennsylvania. But the institutional approach to campus safety is the key in keeping people safe in emergency situations, she said.
Though it's not national protocol, active shooter training is having a positive effect on campuses where lives are at risk, said Chris Blake, chief staff officer with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
The Casper Police Department conducted an active shooter training session just last month. The end result, Walsh said, was the type of response carried out Friday.
When emergency response is necessary, Blake said, every minute counts.
"These are events of very low frequency," Walsh said. "If you don't practice, you'll never be able to perform if you're faced with one."