DPS chief gives reason why no Orange Alert was issued for shots fired on Walnut Avenue

Jessica Sheldon | Photo Editor

At about 10:50 p.m. Sunday, a series of gunshots were exchanged by a civilian man and a Syracuse Police Department officer. At least one round hit the man, who later died after being taken to Upstate Medical Hospital.

UPDATED: Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 at 11:57 a.m.

Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado said the reason why no Orange Alert was issued for shots fired on Walnut Avenue was because there was no active threat to the Syracuse University community.

During a traffic stop at about 10:52 p.m. on Sunday, an officer with the Syracuse Police Department stopped a car on the 600 block of Walnut Avenue. The driver exited the vehicle and fired several shots at the officer. The officer then fired back at the man, hitting him with at least one round.

The man was transported to Upstate Medical Hospital, where he later died.

Both the names of the man who died and the SPD officer have not yet been released, per SPD protocol.

No Orange Alert was issued despite there being a heavy police presence in Walnut Park where the shots were fired.

RELATED: Syracuse police officer kills armed man in shooting near Walnut Park

Orange Alert is SU’s crisis notification system in the event of an immediate threat of physical harm to the campus community. When activated a short notice about the situation and what to do is sent via email, text message and phone call. The message goes out to students, faculty, staff and members of the SU and State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry communities.

“As the chief of public safety at Syracuse, I determined that this was appropriate and consistent with protocol,” Maldonado said in a statement sent to the SU community.

The Orange Alert system is only used in situations in which there is an immediate threat to members of the campus community, according to the statement. The shooting did not pose an ongoing threat to the campus and it ended within minutes.

The last time SU sent out an Orange Alert was almost one year ago when, on Oct. 14, 2015, Zavion Escobar, 15, was shot and killed on Hope Avenue.

RELATED: Storify: Syracuse University students frustrated with little information about shooting near Walnut Park

Around 2 a.m. on Monday, DPS sent out an email to the SU community stating there was no threat to the campus from the shooting. DPS officials declined to comment on why it took about three hours for them to send the email about the incident.

“I do recognize that the proximity of the incident to our campus is concerning,” Maldonado said in the statement. “As DPS chief, my main priority is and always will be the safety and well-being of each member of our campus community.”

He added that the events from the incident were unsettling and listed counseling resources available via the university.

SPD said it will be holding a press conference about the shots fired incident at noon on Monday.


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