By Jose Servin and John Olivares
A threatening note left by a suspicious man wandering Santa Ana College Saturday led a communications professor to secure nine students in a locked office and call 911 after campus security failed to respond.
“At the moment we are still trying to investigate why our officers did not pick up the phone call,” said Chief of District Safety and Security Alistair Winter at a district board safety and security meeting today.
Before dispatching officers and a helicopter to campus, the Santa Ana Police Department asked Communication Studies Professor Vera Holder where her campus safety officers were, Winter said.
Two officers were on duty that day, one of which was on an offsite patrol check during the time of the incident.
The patrol checks are performed once per shift Winter said.
“If professors are in a situation where they can’t reach public safety through traditional means then we need to have an alternative plan because part of the reason why we want our safety department to be ready to handle situations is because of the delayed response that we would suffer going to Santa Ana or Orange police departments,” said Board of Trustee President Claudia Alvarez.
Holder was in between teaching a class and conducting a Communications Club meeting around 4 p.m. when she noticed a suspicious 6-foot-tall white male in the C-Building on the east side of SAC’s main campus.
Holder, who teaches a Saturday morning class and was one of a handful of people in the building that day, did not recognize the man.
After declining Holder’s offer for help, the man entered a classroom where three of her students were working and sat at a desk and began to write.
Alarmed, Holder went to her office to notify campus security, but before she could make the call the man exited the building, leaving a note, with the phrase, “Obscure abstract artist shoot world-class G-8 titan of the industry in the head.”
On the back of the note, he left a diagram of how the shooting might occur.
Upon reading the note, Holder secured her students in a faculty office and locked it.
She then attempted to call campus security twice from an office phone, but no one answered.
Holder then dialed 911 and contacted the SAPD.
“I trust Professor Holder because we spend so much time together, whatever she told us to do we did without hesitation,” said Erin Dobson, vice president of the Communications Club.
This is not the first incident in the C-Building.
Over the years, the C-201 media lab has been burglarized twice. One time, stealing every computer in the lab. More recently, during another break-in, thieves made off with a faculty member’s office computer.
About three semesters ago, the Phillips Hall Theatre, adjacent to the C-Building, was burglarized when a thief broke a window to gain access to the theater’s green room and offices, where multiple items were stolen.