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USF students confused over campus emergency texts following Charlie Bates crime spree

7:32 PM, Sep 6, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Manhunt for violent home invasion suspect near USF

 

Tampa, Florida -- University of South Florida students and staff were on high alert Friday morning and, later, confused about their own safety.

"We were scared about walking to class so we took the bus this morning and walked with each other," said a junior at USF after reading campus alert texts.

"The texts were confusing though because the first said to be alert about a situation -- and then the second one, a few hours afterwards, said the event was over but they were clearly still searching for the bad guy," said another student.

USF Police told 10 News that it is on a learning curve with the emergency text alert system. 

Lt. Chris Daniel said by choosing the words "the event is over" in the second mass text, they meant the attacks were over, but that the investigation searching for the man was still underway. He explained that it's a challenge to clarify certain complicated situations like this one and condense the information in the emergency texts.

Mother, Sherry Seiler, drove an hour from work in Palm Harbor to check on her daughter, a student at USF who also worked on campus, and was confused about the texts.

"She called us. She was worried and felt insecure about how she was going to get to work today, which is in the Marshall Center which was across the street from her boyfriend's apartment who lives near where the violent sexual attacks were happening last night," said Seiler.

She told her daughter to take the bus to work which, again, was a few minutes walk away.

"But my daughter was so concerned about her safety and said 'no, if I take the bus that means I would have to stand outside and wait for it by myself,' so I told her, 'Ok, get your roommates to come with you', and they did."

Eighteen schools -- all elementary, middle, and high schools -- were on lockdown in the USF and New Tampa area on Friday. That meant classes continued but no outdoor activity was allowed.

Cody Carras and his friends said they were told limited information about what was happening outside their Freedom Hill High School doors.

"I wish the teachers or officials would have told us more, but we understand they were trying not to scare us too much -- even though many of the girls were already scared," said Carras.  "We used our cell phones' Internet to find out what was really going on outside and now we are feeling so much relief after they caught him."

More on the USF Manhunt and Deadly shootout below...

WATCH: RAW VIDEO of police chase **WARNING VIDEO IS GRAPHIC IN NATURE**

WATCH: Police video of deadly chase and shootout with scanner audio **WARNING VIDEO IS GRAPHIC IN NATURE**

WATCH: Press Conference with Hillsborough Sheriff's Office Sheriff David Gee and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor following shootout

PICTURES of the police chase and shootout

STORY: Some USF students worry about their own safety after crime spree

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