BATON ROUGE, La. - Police searched for suspects yesterday in the shooting deaths of two Louisiana State University students, and unlike other schools in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, administrators decided against locking down the campus.
Police patrols were increased on the 28,000-student campus, and students were urged to be cautious as they wrapped up final exams and headed home for the Christmas break. But LSU chancellor Sean O'Keefe said police chose not to blockade the campus or reschedule the tests after determining the two Ph.D. students from India were slain in an isolated home invasion.
The victims were found late Thursday after being shot in the head inside an apartment complex for married and graduate students. One was tied up with a computer cable.
The decision to keep campus open - and let traffic and people move freely - was in sharp contrast to the responses at other colleges to reports of gunfire after the Virginia Tech shootings in April.
"There was no evidence, nothing to suggest that there was a pattern here that would rapidly escalate. And as a consequence of that, a determination was made that we would not lock down the campus," O'Keefe said.
This fall, officials at the University of Memphis canceled class the day after a football player was shot because authorities were uncertain at the time whether it was a targeted or random attack. After two students were shot in September at Delaware State University, administrators ordered a swift shutdown of the campus, citing the Virginia Tech shootings.
LSU's campus would be difficult to block off from drivers and walkers. The university does not have gates at its many entrances, and at least two major city roads run through the campus. O'Keefe said the university took many precautions to notify students about the shootings but felt a shutdown of campus was unnecessary.
Still, at least one of the LSU notification systems - a text-messaging alert system put in place after the Virginia Tech shootings - failed to notify all 8,000 students who signed up.