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Oikos University shooting a familiar scene for UA

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Oikos University shooting a familiar scene for UA

CREATED Apr 2, 2012

Reporter:  Jessica Chapin

TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - The scene Monday at Oikos University in Oakland, Calif. is familiar for many of the staff and police officers at the University of Arizona.  This year marks the tenth anniversary of a shooting on campus at the College of Nursing.

Sgt. Juan Alvarez with UAPD witnessed the scene 10 years ago, when a student shot and killed three professors after he was barred from taking an exam.  41-year-old Robert S. Flores turned the gun on himself after police arrived.

"I do remember it was pretty chaotic but we all had a job to do," said Alvarez, "and I think that our response to it at the time really limited the amount of victims that we saw on that day."

In Oakland, the shooter is in custody.  But the aftermath is sure to come, as a community mourns seven people killed and three injured.

"We know from experience that if something like that does happen at a university or college, it not only affects the people that it happened to, the victims, but the whole community as well the faculty staff the students, everybody in that community as well," said Alvarez.

Shortly after the UA shooting, the school planted trees to honor victims 50-year-old Robin Rogers, 44-year-old Cheryl McGaffic and 45-year-old Barbara Monroe.  Then, they changed several policies and procedures.

"I think we do things a little bit different organizationally," said Alvarez, "we focus on education and assessment."

UA police work with other departments to teach the public how to recognize and report erratic behavior.  They follow up with individuals to get help if necessary.  The shooting also spurred UA Alert, a system which automatically sends email, text and tweet updates in the event of a campus emergency.

Alvarez says events like the Oakland shooting are painful reminders of that day, but it's not something they can or should forget.

"we really don't want to forget what happened we just want to remember the event, we want to remember the victims and learn from it," he said, "so we can help prevent it in the future as well."

According to Alvarez, UA police assess their tactics on a regular basis, and refresh active-shooter training scenarios annually.