Students upset over lack of alert for SSU armed robbery

Students: Savannah State 'alert system' not reliable

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Some Savannah State students are wondering why they were not alerted by their university when gunmen were on campus.

I spoke with several students who were upset they didn't get any official alert from the university when the armed robbery happened early Thursday morning.

"It was kind of weird, because I didn't get a notification or nothing about it, because what if I would've just walked over there and not known anything. If I don't have any friends or if I'm not big on social media, how am I supposed to know what's going on," said Kawambee Young, freshman at SSU.

Social media lit up around 1:30 a.m., when five students were held at gunpoint at a University Commons apartment on campus. The robbers stole money, jewelry, and electronic devices, but no one was injured.

But contrary to what we heard from a school spokesperson on Thursday afternoon, a source with the University confirms no alert about the situation was sent out via email or phone to students.

SSU junior Rahkel Hoffman is signed up to receive those "SSU Alerts" but said this isn't the first time the school's alert system has not been reliable.

"Sometimes they don't send emails right away, so if it's something real major - usually, if it's a death or something, then they put an email out - but it won't be right away until they actually know what's going on," said Hoffman.

I tried to get a comment from university officials all day, but they would not agree to go on camera. Nor would anyone from the campus police department despite our attempts.

Another confusing element, a post about the incident on the school's website was time stamped 12:53 a.m. Nearly 45 minutes prior to the crime. That post disappeared after our initial report.

Our newsroom was keeping an eye on social media Thursday morning when the reports starting coming in about the robbery, and the students I talked to Thursday said that's how they heard about it too. Through Snapchat and Twitter.

"I'm trying to figure out why the campus is on lockdown, so I'm texting around trying to find out what happened, and there it goes. Somebody got robbed," said Young.

According to a statement issued by the university, officers have identified one of the suspects, and they've determined this was not a random incident, that the victims and suspects may know each other.

Just a few hours ago, the campus police chief offered to speak with me on Friday. If that opportunity materializes, we'll let you know what he has to say.

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