Why Campus Wasn’t Closed Monday Following Strip Massacre

Unlv Police Chief Explains the Decision, and What the Department Did in the Aftermath.

By Bianca Cseke | October 8th, 2017

Although UNLV Police Services declared that the campus was safe the morning after the Oct. 1 massacre on the Las Vegas Strip, the reasoning behind the decision wasn’t immediately clear in UNLV President Len Jessup’s campus-wide message Monday morning.


It turns out the decision was based on the fact that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department hadn’t found any evidence that there were multiple shooters the night of the attack, nor was there reason to believe UNLV was threatened, Chief of Police Jose Elique told the Free Press.


“While President Jessup is the only one who can make the decision [to close campus], we didn’t recommend doing so,” Elique said.


Police Services arranged for more patrols on campus to make students, faculty and staff more aware of a police presence on Oct. 2.


“Just by seeing us around, people feel more secure,” Elique said.


The campus also had more officers than usual the night of the shooting.


Normally, there are between four and six officers on duty on a Sunday night shift, but as Police Services staff heard about what happened on the Strip, more arrived on campus as well as the Strip to assist Metro officers. Within hours, there were about five or six officers at UNLV at any given time that night, Elique said.


On the night of the shooting, UNLV’s Thomas & Mack served as a refuge for about 500 people fleeing from the Route 91 country music festival across from the Mandalay Bay, the site of the massacre.


All those victims were screened before they were allowed to enter the building, police said.


“There were lots of people soaked in others’ blood, and they were afraid and stressed out,” Elique said. “They were glad to be here.”


UNLV kept an ambulance on site as much as possible while the evacuees were on campus, and the Thomas & Mack saw an outpouring of community support that lasted well after the last of the victims left about 10 a.m. on Oct. 2.


Police Services also had extra officers on patrol during Saturday’s football game against San Diego State University at Sam Boyd Stadium and at any other Sam Boyd Stadium events this past weekend.


Elique said there will also be an increased presence at next week’s Monster Jam event at the stadium.


UNLV administrators did not clearly communicate any of the information Police Services provided, other than the fact that campus was deemed safe.


The department offers 24/7 assistance to anyone needing it on campus. Students, faculty and staff can call 9-1-1 or 702-895-3669 in an emergency. For non-emergency situations, call 3-1-1 or 702-895-3668.

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