BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A Maryland college accidentally sent out an alert that an armed person was on campus Wednesday afternoon.
Montgomery College say the alert that was sent out around 1 p.m. was a mistake.
For six minutes, thousands of people at the college thought there was an actual armed shooter on campus.
“I was on the bus on my way here and i thought about turning around and going home,” student Rebekah Matthews said.
“It was really scary,” student Kayla Carry said.
The correction came six minutes later.
Montgomery College officials say close to 9,000 text messages were sent out to people across all three of its campuses that includes students, parents and staff members.
“We feel really bad for the students that were scared for that five or six minutes,” said Montgomery College spokesperson Marcus Rosana.
After the mass shooting at Virgnia Tech in 2007, colleges started a heavy push for students to sign-up for emergency alerts and the alerts have proven to be effective
Last year, both Howard University in Washington D.C. and Harford County Community College sent out warnings to students after reports of a shooter.
In 2012, Morgan State sent out emergency alerts after a football player was shot on campus. The suspect was not a student.
Montgomery College hopes this mistake won’t reduce its credibility.
“And we are going to keep training more to make sure that not only is it just working, but that our students and our staff and our faculty have confidence in the MC alert system,” Rosana said.
“I’ll have faith in alert systems, I’d rather they mistakenly put out an alert, than mistakenly not put out an alert,” student Kyle Lowery said.
The university has identified the person who sent the message.
Montgomery College said it started urging students to sign up for alerts at the beginning of the school year.