Tragedy Hits the Madison Community

Dan Crisler

As nearly all students know by now, Madison suffered a murder tragedy last Tuesday.

While it is now known that last week’s murder of retired high school teacher Norman Johnson was a targeted killing, these motives were not known in the immediate aftermath of the murder, so Dakota State officials had to take precautions while hearing updates from the Madison police department.

Jesse Kane, the Vice President for Student Affairs, (formerly known as Jesse Wise) elaborated on the actions that Dakota State officials made in the immediate aftermath of the murder. He stated that this is the first time that something like this has happened in the four years he has been at DSU.

At approximately 9:30 P.M. at a DSU basketball game, an announcement was made stating that there was a gunman in the Madison area. Kane said that the announcement followed shortly after the police told DSU officials about the shooting. Kane said that an e-mail message was sent to students and staff through the alert system in place at DSU. This message was sent at 10:43 P.M.

At this time that DSU went into lockdown. Residence hall students were advised to stay indoors while more information became available to see if there was any threat to the DSU campus. Shortly after midnight, DSU President Doug Knowlton was notified that the shooting was a targeted event.

The morning after the murder, on Wednesday at 7:32 A.M., to be precise, Dr. Knowlton stated that there was no imminent threat to the campus and that classes would proceed as scheduled.

Nonetheless, DSU Student Senate held a meeting at noon for students who had concerns about how administrators handled the communication aspects and how to improve in the unfortunate event if something like this happens again. DSU officials and Student Senate are currently deliberating findings and improvements from the meeting.

“We are definitely looking at how we can improve the students’ sense of security,” Kane said. “We feel for the families affected by this tragedy.”

The picture below includes another tragic event from last week. A house fire occurred across from DSU’s campus on Friday, February 3. Fire officials were called on scene at 12:45PM on Friday. No one was injured from the fire, and the cause of the fire is currently considered undetermined.

Smoke rises while fire fighters work on securing the home. Picture taken from the third floor of Heston Hall, by Tiffany Sommer.

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