CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Coastal Carolina University leaders say a new $330,000 security system installed last January was worth every penny. It needed to be used for the first time Monday when 20-year-old Cameron James Culp was shot and killed near campus and police couldn't find the shooter.
While the shooting didn't happen here on CCU's campus, it did happen where many Coastal and Horry Georgetown Technical College students live.
"I was in my room studying, I was in the library, everyone in the exam was getting texts about a shooting," a CCU student said. "We made sure the doors were locked - they came on the intercom and told us that the whole campus was on lockdown. We closed all the blinds. I was on the top floor in the quiet section against the wall, and I moved to the very back of the library with my back against the wall so I could see the whole room. It's a little weird because I'm not from America so we never hear about something like this back home."
It came as a shock to students when CCU's new security system was activated for the first time Monday, and alerted students and staff to an emergency and to find shelter immediately.
Alerts are sent via text and email - they can be crime or weather-related, but the most serious are broadcast throughout campus on an intercom with flashing lights. The alert wasn't for an active shooter, but a school lockdown was mandatory.
Several students they took precautions, but weren't scared. They knew what to do in this situation. Many live at University Place, which is right behind the cove where the shooting happened. Although they couldn't hear the intercom, the texts alerted them to act.
"It was interesting to experience it in an actual situation, and it worked," said Dr. Debbie Conner, VP Campus Life and Student Involvement. She said she was in the rec center and found the students to tell them to be calm.
Dr. Conner said most students were worried about missing tests, but besides that, she heard great conversation among students about what was happening.