Shooting sparks rumors of campus violence
WMPD squashes stories circulating on social media, vigil planned for victim
firstname.lastname@example.org News of the shooting death of a West Junior High School student early Friday morning turned into a game of “telephone” gone wrong as false information led many parents to believe the violence occurred on campus.
“West put out a post, and the only thing that I can think of was someone misread what was on social media and it led to mass hysteria,” said West Memphis Assistant Chief of Police Robert Langston. “We put something out into social media as quickly as possible, but it had caught like wildfire before we could do anything about it.” A post on the West Memphis Police Department’s Facebook page attempted to clear up any confusion and put parents at ease.
“People on social media have been spreading a false rumor that there was a shooting at West Junior High today,” said the post.
“This is untrue, and we have extra officers on campus because of this rumor. All WMSD campuses are safe we have officers on each campus. Please share this so that parents will know that their children are safe. Thank you!”
“Once that happened, we had extra officers at the school to help out,” explained Langston. “We had three officers up there all day, not because of any threat against the school but to help calm parents with assurance nothing would happen at the school.”
The social media post seemed to work, eventually, being shared more than 300 times and drawing some comments from the public.
“Heartbroken for this family,” commented one follower of the WMPD Facebook page. “Praying for God’s comfort to be present every second. He is our healer and the only hope we have ,and I know He walks with the brokenhearted.”
“WMPD, I have the utmost respect for what you guys have to deal with, wrote another. “WMPD can’t do this on their own.
We have to come together as a community.”
Of course, in any tragedy, there were those who could see the good shining through, including one poster who wrote, “Like, for real though, I was at West Junior High School since 7 this morning. I have a daughter there and I saw a side of WMPD that I had never seen!
They were holding the kids and comforting them even crying with them!
Thank you, West Memphis Police Department! The help and comfort you gave today was well needed for our babies!”
A candlelight vigil for the victim, 16-year-old Taylon Vail will take place tonight at 7:30 p.m., at West Junior