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MU Police: University failed to issue timely campus alert on armed suspect

The University of Missouri Police issued a statement Thursday afternoon regarding the school’s handling of alerting the MU community of an armed suspect near campus.

A man who Columbia Police believed to have held a woman at gunpoint Wednesday evening was killed when he and an officer exchanged gunfire on the 2nd floor of the Hitt St. parking garage just before 11:00 p.m.

In a statement, MU Police said, “The University of Missouri failed to follow established protocols and procedures in alerting the MU community in a timely manner.”

Students were not aware of the dangerous suspect until after hours after the crime spree that started at Mosers on Keene St.

There are multiple student housing complexes all around downtown. The concern from many students is that the suspect, Mark Adair, was walking around armed and dangerous, but students didn’t know until after Adair had been shot and killed.

Police said Mark Adair attacked a woman in the Mosers parking lot near the 63/70 connector, which led to an almost 5 hour manhunt through downtown Columbia.

“I’ve never actually never heard gunshots before, so there were about two that went off and I looked at my roommate, and I was like ‘what is that?’ She said ‘those are gunshots,'” said Samantha Holmes, a MU student.

Holmes said she and her roommate were hearing the end of the chase right outside their window at the Lofts apartments on 9th across from the parking garage a little before 11:00 p.m.

MU students weren’t notified about any of this until close to an hour after it was all over.

The MU Alert system sent out one email at 11:40 p.m., then a second one at 11:45.

The latter one states, “the suspect was located and engaged police, who shot and killed him.”

“What if I wanted a midnight snack last night, what if I went out there, wanted Steak and Shake late at night or McDonalds and I was in the middle of that. So, I’m just thankful that I’m not,” said Cameron Smith, another MU student.

After the shooting, CPD said it notified MU Police shortly before 7:30 p.m. that Adair was on foot in the downtown area.

At around 10:00 p.m., officers said Adair tried grabbing another woman at her car at gunpoint, but she got away near Rose Music Hall, formerly known as Mojo’s.

But nothing went out to students, no text message or email warning students of an armed and dangerous man close to campus until it was all over.

“Me and my friends didn’t even know what was going on, and they knew from us texting them. So I think MU campus does need to step up their game a little bit,” said Smith.

MUPD said the MUAlert system was not activated when it should have been.

MUPD went on to say an initial text alert to students and staff should have been released when MU first got a statement from CPD with the suspect’s description and possible location.

An officer with MUPD received minor injuries during the exchange.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is handling the investigation of the shooting.

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