Campus police: ENMU active shooter alert was false alarm

PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – An active shooter alert sent out Wednesday morning had students at one New Mexico university fearing for their lives only to learn about ten minutes later, the school accidentally sent it out.

Now people are asking how this could happen.

Many students at Eastern New Mexico University woke up to a really scary message on their phones and computers. It read, “ENMU Portales active shooter on campus. Shelter in place. Mute cell devices.”

The message was sent not once but twice.

“It’s not real until it happens at your school you know,” said Kynna Walton, ENMU student.

About ten minutes later, students received a message saying “All clear. Accidental button push. The campus may return to normal operations.”

This left many students, staff and parents wondering what happened.

ENMU’s President, Dr. Steven Gamble, says it was just a simple mistake.

The school uses an app called the Rave Panic Button. It allows school staff to send out alerts for emergencies like fires and campus shootings.

“In this case an employee apparently turned on in his pocket and twice somehow the button was accessed,” said Gamble.

That has some students wondering if it should be that easy to mistakenly hit send.

“I guess it is a good thing but maybe make it more difficult to accidentally send the alert,” said Estephanie Mendes, ENMU student.

“I was angry. How do you press a button like that accidentally? Like, how do you send out this mass text and scare parents and kids everywhere?” Marguerite Frechette, ENMU student.

ENMU’s President says he apologizes for putting a scare into everyone, but also says he was pleased by how campus and local police, students and staff all responded to the alert. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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