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TCC officials add security in response to threat

FORT WORTH -- Increased patrols have been added to all four Tarrant County College campuses after a tiny scrawled message in a men’s restroom warns there will be a shooting April 19 at the northeast campus in Hurst.

Increased security has also been added to the TCC administration building in downtown Fort Worth, and a portable metal detector was posted at the Northeast Campus library, where the message was found.

"We put notices all over the campuses," said Donna Darovich, TCC spokeswoman. "We also put out e-mails.

"We’re asking students to be careful but also to be observant and report any unusual behavior, no matter how silly."

Darovich discussed the safety alert Wednesday as the nation commemorated the massacre a year ago at Virginia Tech University.

She said the message was discovered on Saturday.

A statement from the administration explained that TCC police have investigated "a barely discernible, small in print, message” that was found "scratched on the stall of a men’s room on the second floor of the library at the Northeast Campus" in Hurst.

According to officials, the message read, "There will be a shooting here on April 19."

Larry Darlage, president of the Northeast Campus, subsequently contacted all faculty members who will be teaching on Saturday, which is April 19, and has asked them as to be especially alert on that day, Darovich said.

She also noted that Darlage has asked faculty to show academic leniency to students who may to choose to stay home that day because of the threat.

Darovich said officials are concerned some students may abuse the leniency, but she added, "It’s better to be safe than sorry."

TCC officials stated that the safety alert was "not intended to create any undue alarm,” but they were, nevertheless, taking it seriously.

"To this end," they said, "additional safety and security measures have been activated and will continue as long as deemed appropriate to preserve the safety and security of our campus community."

Darovich said that included a “heightened” presence with more patrols on foot and with police cars.

The campuses include: Northeast, 828 Harwood Road, Hurst; South, 5301 Campus Drive, Fort Worth; Northwest, 4801 Marine Creek Parkway, Fort Worth; and Southeast, 2100 Southeast Parkway, Arlington.

TCC's administration offices are in the May Owen Center, 1500 Houston St., in downtown Fort Worth.

Officials also pledged to press for the prosecution of anyone who makes threats that place people in fear.

Anyone with information about the message can call campus police at 817-515-8911.

In a similar situation last week in Chicago, officials at St. Xavier University shut down their campus after threatening graffiti was discovered in a bathroom.

The message at St. Xavier threatened that violence would happen on Monday, but nothing occurred and students are scheduled to return to classes on Thursday.

Anyone with information about the TCC message can call campus police at 817-515-8911.

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