Safety concerns rise due to shootings

Officers+begin+to+create+a+parameter+around+the+area+where+the+Feb.+24+shooting+occurred.+

Kristopher Carrasco

Officers begin to create a parameter around the area where the Feb. 24 shooting occurred.

Karla Enriquez, Editor-in-Chief

Two consecutive shootings took place on February 23 and 24 within close proximity to the Cerritos College campus.

Although both shootings at the 7-Eleven on Studebaker and Alondra boulevard were unrelated and had nothing to do with the college, there has been student concern over safety.

7-Eleven is a student hot spot for those who are looking for a quick snack, and is in close proximity to one of the many bus stops used by commuters not only on our campus, but the community at large.

As the events unfolded, the community took to social media with concerns.
Keiesha Marie Shorts wrote,“When the shootings start to happen at Cerritos College then there will be a serious problem. […]no, I don’t feel safe but it’s important to be aware of your surroundings in case something horrible happens.”

Another comment left by Adriana Nayeli Garcia stated, “I don’t feel safe anymore.”
There were a number of students with similar responses.
Cerritos College sent out alerts close to an hour and 45 minutes, respectively, after each shooting occurred.

Cerritos College Police Chief Tom Gallivan expressed that there is no direct threat to campus and the college continues to be safe.

“Anything that happens in or around the community that surrounds the college, I think it’s important for students to be aware of their surroundings,” said Gallivan.

He continued, “Anytime, there’s any type of incident that happens in or around the community, we’ll contact our partners over at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
“[We] find out if there’s any concern we should be aware of as far as increased gang activity, if they feel that anything might impact the campus at all.”

Gallivan expressed that anytime an incident like that happens, presence will be increased with more foot patrol on campus that includes cadets and officers.

“Right now, this semester, the officers [have] more of a community oriented policing method. We’ve been encouraging high visibility patrols, just for the officers and cadets,” Gallivan said.

He stated that this will continue and high visibility will be enhanced to ensure students and staff know campus police is present.

“It also helps for the surrounding communities to see our black and whites in the parking lot so they know that we do have a police department on campus,” Gallivan concluded.

According to a Nixle advisory, at approximately 5:14 p.m. on February 24, the 7-Eleven gas station on Alondra and Studebaker was home to a deputy-involved shooting.

At the time, students were arriving or leaving campus through the busy intersection while others waited at their respective bus stops, some witnessing the shooting itself, others hearing the loud gun shots.

Associate Dean of Student Health & Wellness Hillary Mennella expressed that there has not been an influx of students at the Student Health Services since the off-campus incident.

“We have been communicating with campus leaders who are aware that some students witnessed the shootings.

Student Health Services hosted a grief/trauma de-briefing on March 1 at 1:00 p.m. in BK 111.

Mennella encouraged students to attend the de-briefing but personal or group counseling is available at Student Health Services if they wish to seek that.

“All of these options are free and confidential. Some students prefer the privacy of one-on-one brief therapy. Other students may shy away from support groups but groups can be a great way to learn from peers and participants often feel validated and comforted knowing that others are struggling through the same issues.”

Mennella expressed that both individual counseling and group work help in identifying triggers.

She listed the shooting as an example of a trigger that may cause anxiety and that journaling may “be a shield that helps the same individual express his or her feelings.”

Identifying triggers and shields help improve anxiety management.