FHSU students notified of suspect on loose, arrested

Tiger Media Network

On October 20, Fort Hays students and staff were notified of a suspect near campus who was reported on the run from police. 

According to Hays Chief of Police Don Scheibler, at approximately 10:40 a.m., Ellis County Law Enforcement was called to an address on East Eighth Street in an effort to arrest an individual. The individual had a history of violent crimes and was being arrested for new crimes he had committed. Officers located his vehicle on the 400 block of East Sixth Street, at which point he tried to flee the area. The individual abandoned his vehicle near Third and Fourth street.

The individual was on supervised parole and was wearing an ankle monitor, but he cut off the monitor. Officers found the monitor in the area, but were unable to locate the suspect. At that point, University Police Chief Terry Pierce said it was time to notify students and staff. 

“We just wanted to make people aware of it, especially since he was last seen so close to campus,” Pierce said.

University Communications Officer Scott Cason said the Critical Incident Policy Group is in charge of sending messages to staff and students. The group is made up of Cason, the vice presidents of the university, Chief Information Officer Mark Griffin, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs David Bollig and Pierce. In some instances, President Tisa Mason is consulted before messages are sent. 

Pierce notified Cason of the ongoing incident.

“We have a responsibility to communicate what we know, when we know it, when it won’t interfere with an ongoing operation and then update that when we learn something new,” Cason said. 

The first alert was sent at 12:59 p.m. The message read:

“Members of the campus community are asked to be on the lookout for a suspect who fled from arrest in the area of Big Creek and South Main St. in Hays. The suspect is an African-American male last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt and gray sweatpants. Please dial 911 to report any possible sighting of this individual.”

In situations like these, Cason says messages are typically sent every hour unless there is an urgent development. 

Later that afternoon, Hays PD posted on Facebook saying they believed the suspect had left the area. 

Scheibler said the department had received a call from a Community Corrections officer that said they had been in contact with the individual and the individual had said they were no longer in town. 

“We didn’t know if that was true or not, but that was the latest information we had so we updated our Facebook post showing that the person had not been located and the last information we had received was that he was no longer in the community and that we were going back to normal patrol operations,” Scheibler said. 

At this point, the Critical Incident Policy Group decided to stop sending alerts. 

“We didn’t think it was productive to keep pinging people every hour,” Cason said. “He hadn’t been apprehended yet. We didn’t know anything new. We also weren’t certain he had left the area and did not want to send out any speculative information,” Cason said. 

The suspect remained at large until Saturday morning. 

“For whatever reason, the individual called 911,” Scheibler said. 

As soon as someone calls 911, the police have location information from that call. They determined the call was made in the 200 block of Ash Street. Officers responded and set up a perimeter. According to Scheibler, the individual threatened to shoot law enforcement, saying he was armed with a handgun. The Special Situation Response Team was then called and a few houses in the area were evacuated as a precaution. 

The Special Situation Response Team was able to negotiate with the suspect. The suspect surrendered and was taken into custody without injury. 

A final message was sent to students and staff at 8:24 a.m. Saturday announcing the suspect had been apprehended. 

Cason said situations like these emphasize the importance of keeping your contact information updated in Workday. When notifications are sent, the phone numbers and email addresses are pulled from Workday. 

“In any situation that’s emergency-related, whether it’s ongoing criminal activity, whether related emergencies, environmental emergencies, this is our primary method of communication,” Cason said. “It is essential that the university community keep their information current.”

To update your contact information, follow these steps:

FHSU Students

  1. Log in to Workday and click on the icon or photo in the top right corner
  2. Click “View Profile”
  3. Click “Contact” from the menu list at the top of the dashboard
  4. Click “Edit”
  5. Scroll down and click edit (pencil icon) for your Primary Phone
  6. Enter your current phone number, then click the checkmark to save the changes
  7. If you have a secondary phone number you wish to add, click “Add” beneath Additional Phone
  8. Enter that particular phone number, then click the checkmark to save these changes
  9. Once you have made all your changes, click “Submit” at the bottom of the screen

FHSU Faculty and Staff

  1. Log in to Workday and click on the icon or your photo in the top right corner
  2. Select “View Profile”
  3. Select “Job” 
  4. Select the “Additional Data tab” from the menu list at the top of the dashboard
  5. Select the “Edit” button under the Emergency Notification System section
  6. Update and save your information as necessary
  7. Once you have made all your changes, click “Submit” at the bottom of the screen