Franklin County

Handling of KSU gun threat praised

The six minutes it took for police to arrest a man accused of pointing a handgun at people in the student center at Kentucky State University passed quickly and smoothly, according to university and law enforcement officials.

Frankfort police arrested Christopher Sims, 23, of Louisville, after the incident was reported to them and to campus police at 4:22 p.m. Tuesday. Frankfort police Maj. Fred Deaton said officers did a good job handling the ordeal "by the book."

A national security expert told the Herald-Leader that the situation appeared to have been handled appropriately.

Timothy Dimoff, a former Akron, Ohio, police officer and national security consultant, said he's impressed that it only took police six minutes to arrest the suspect after the incident was reported. He said it appears the school didn't need to be placed on a lockdown because there was only one suspect and police found him quickly.

"That's very good," Dimoff said. "And I'm highly impressed."

University police Chief Stephanie Bastin said Frankfort police handled the situation because a Frankfort police officer was the first to make contact with Sims.

The two agencies declined to discuss protocol for handling an emergency situation. But university spokeswoman Felicia Lewis said the emergency plan would be reviewed, which is typical after any incident.

Lewis said students, professors and others on campus could have learned about what was happening through display screens across campus and on the university Web site. She also said an all-clear was sent through KSU Alert, the campus emergency communications system, at 4:43 p.m.

KSU Alert sends text messages and e-mails to students and others who sign up for the program. Lewis said she did not know how many people received Tuesday's alert, but she said 22 people signed up for the program following the incident.

Some students said they didn't know what was happening and wanted more information. Others praised the university for handling the situation quickly, saying they feel safe on campus.

Brianah Hightower, a freshman from Canton, Mich., said she was in an Introduction to Nursing class Tuesday afternoon as Sims was arrested in a nearby building. Sims was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon on school property.

Hightower said she found out what was happening through Twitter, a social networking site. She told her teacher, and students started peering out of classroom windows.

Sims is also charged with promoting contraband, concealing a deadly weapon and first-degree disorderly conduct. He pleaded not guilty to charges Thursday in Franklin District Court. Lewis declined to discuss disciplinary action being taken against Sims, a part-time student at KSU.

Erica Filmore, a freshman from Detroit, said she sometimes sees officers on campus, but there should be more police presence.

But Devin Lovan, a sophomore from Louisville, said he thought police did a good job resolving the situation. He said the only way to prevent another incident would be to have metal detectors installed at every doorway, something that is not likely to occur.

"The only thing they can do is just be quick about it," Lovan said.