HARTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – News13 filed a Freedom of Information Act request and was able to obtain an incident report from the Hartsville Police Department that detailed how and why officials at Coker University issued an alert to students on campus about an “active shooter” situation.
Police in Hartsville say they, “ended up… chasing behind misinformation that was coming from a fourth party caller” that eventually caused “mass panic” at Coker University. That’s according to the incident report. The incident report lays out chronologically what happened in the moments leading up to security officials at Coker University sending an “active shooter” alert to students.
The alert was issued the same night several people were shot and killed at Mac’s Lounge on Camden Avenue early Sunday morning. According to the coroner in Darlington County, three people were killed. Dicaprio Collins, 21, Bryan Robinson, 29, and Garrett Bakhsh, 18. Bakhsh was a student at Coker University.
According to the incident report, a student’s mother saw a post on social media about “a shooter being on campus” referring to the incident at Mac’s Lounge “where some Coker students were involved.” The mother messaged her son, “worried, and in turn, he told his suite-mate… what mom had said.” The suite-mate then called his mother, whom is out of state, to tell her about the social media post.
According to the incident report, “up until this point, three people have failed to call 911 to report this but instead, called someone else.” The report goes on to say the “fourth person in the sequence, calls it in but she is unable to give good information because she doesn’t know what’s going on. Because of this, we (Hartsville Police Officers) were sent all over campus.”
Sometime during all of this, “the school sent out an email blast about an assailant being on campus, which caused mass panic. There was never any threat to the campus or students,” according to the incident report.
News13 spoke with Lt. Mark Blair with the Hartsville Police Dept. about the situation. Blair tells us officials at Coker University used their best judgement and took everyone’s safety into account when sending the alert, and that university officials did nothing wrong and acted in an effort to keep people safe. Lt. Blair also says students at Coker University were polite and quick to react when they were instructed by officers to get indoors.
Late Thursday, News13 obtained a statement sent from Coker University Board Chair Angie Stanland to faculty. The e-mail was sent just after 4 p.m.
Dear Colleagues –
Let me first say I know that our entire campus community joins in prayer for Garrett, the Bakhsh family and all individuals who have been impacted by the senseless shootings in Hartsville. I am very grateful for the stories I’ve heard about those of you who have stepped to the forefront and been ever-present as compassionate leaders for our students, their families, and for each other during this sad time.
The past few days have been difficult, and I know that each of us has our own processing to do. Since early Sunday morning, the Senior Leadership Team and Board of Trustees have been in collaboration with law enforcement and hospital officials, including Coker’s immediate and round-the-clock support for Garrett and his family. I know that it never seems like enough communication, but Coker, like all other entities involved including the hospitals and city of Hartsville, must follow the protocol laid out by law enforcement during a criminal investigation. Our notification protocols provided the information that we were able to share, when we were able to share it. On Sunday, our emergency Safety Alert system was used immediately when law enforcement notified us they’d received a 911 armed assailant report and that they were en route to campus. Thankfully the report turned out to be false, but our Safety Alert system performed as it should to ensure our students, faculty and staff were safe. At each and every step, the safety and privacy of our students and campus community has been our very highest priority.
Each of us will process this situation differently and resuming classes has offered normalcy for those who need and benefit from being back in a positive routine as a part of their grieving process. Simultaneously, every effort continues to be made to provide alternatives and support to those who do not feel ready to be back on campus or in class. Thank you for helping students navigate so that all in our community are served.
Many of you are asking how you can help. I ask that each of you continue to make compassion for all of our students’ needs your top priority. No matter what they are going through, Coker needs you to provide leadership, courage and the assurance that we grieve with them, and that their well-being is paramount to all of us. In this difficult time, it is through your leadership, the strength of our campus community, and caring and support for one another, that we will heal.
We pride ourselves on being a family at Coker. You have the Board of Trustees’ gratitude for your leadership, your support of our Senior Leadership Team, and your devotion to our students in this difficult time. Today, and in the days and weeks ahead, may our Coker family come together in healing and support of our community.Angie Stanland, Chairman of the Coker University Board of Trustees
Two people have been charged in connection with the crime so far. According to Lt. Mark Blair, with the Hartsville Police Department, Darius Dickey, 20, will be charged with murder. Davijon Khalil McCall is also charged with murder.
According to warrants obtained by News13, Dickey “did brandish a firearm at Mac’s Lounge” during “an altercation on the dance floor area.” Warrants also allege that Dickey “fired numerous rounds into a crowded bar at a subject, to which he shot several other patrons inside the bar.” Warrants for Davijon Khalil McCall allege that McCall “did with malice aforethought discharge a firearm at the victim.” “Witnesses identified McCall and observed McCall discharge said firearm” at a victim “striking him in the head area,” warrants also said.
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