Metro discusses response efforts, impact misinformation had during false alarm at Town Square

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A man was arrested in a shooting scare that sparked a big response from police at town square Friday night.  Rayvon Berton, 22, was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed weapon. 

Police say he pulled out a handgun during a fight between two groups of people outside a store at Town Square.

There weren’t any shots fired, but people started running, and the incident was reported as an active shooter. Parts of Town Square were cleared while police searched for the suspect.

Post 1 October police are not taking any chances and say they understand the public may still be on edge.  But with that said, Metro Police says reporting misinformation can also have a negative impact valley-wide.

“You kind of have to live with it, and you always have to be precautions about where you’re at,” said JK Rosser, a witness to the incident that occurred at Town Square Friday night.

Those reports of a possible active shooter at Town Square triggered a massive police response, in the end, it was a false alarm.

“A lot of yelling and screaming turned into shots being fired and turned into an active shooter, and that’s what was passed on to the police, and that was not the case,” said Larry Hadfield, Metro Police.

In an emergency, it’s essential for the police department to receive reliable information to ensure an appropriate response, Hadfield said.

“We need people who actually know what went on so if gunshots are being fired and you heard them, that’s who we need to hear from, said Hadfield.  “We don’t need to hear from second and third parties calling in because that overloads the system.”

Overloading the system can tie up 9-1-1 dispatchers, along with police officers.

“We had a large amount of resources come in on that where if there was another incident in the city that really needed those resources, they would have been tied up for the moment responding to this one,” Hadfield said.

Hadfield says there are many benefits to social media but the downfall is when false information quickly spreads, which is exactly what happened Friday night.

Many online posts warned people to stay away due to an active shooter, which again, was not the case.

“When you have something that is unvetted, that is not true, go out to a widespread amount of people, it causes panic, and it’s hard to take back that panic,” Hadfield said.

The panic Friday night may be a reminder that the valley is still reeling from the deadly mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas on 1 October.

“I mean that’s an everyday thing; it’s in the back of everybody’s minds,” said Rosser. 

According to Metro Police, officers respond to shootings around the valley almost weekly, but the last active shooter emergency was on October 1.
    

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