Town reviews warning system after some neighbors in Hedingham were left in the dark

RALEIGH, North Carolina — The City of Raleigh says it is reviewing the response to last week’s shooting, including how it handles communication with the public.

Some WRAL viewers expressed concern that people were not made aware of the active shooter situation as it continued.

Several residents of the Hedingham neighborhood and surrounding areas of Raleigh said they had no idea what was going on last Thursday as the events unfolded as they had not received any sort of alert or notification. They heard from neighbors and friends, with one woman saying she discovered him Friday morning – a day later – at the gym.

This week they still feel unsafe and are asking whose job it is to let people know there is an active shooter in the area.

A frantic 911 call was made at 5:26 a.m. last Thursday by a cyclist on the greenway, unaware of what was happening.

“There seems to be a lot of people out there right now,” the cyclist told 911.

That call came at least 10 minutes after emergency officials were advised it was an active shooter situation.

“Looks like there might be a shootout over there, wait, okay?” said the operator.

The caller was amazed.

“WHAT?!” they answered.

A 911 call can save a life, a 911 call can save a community. That’s the message around the Integrated Public Alerting and Warning System (IPAWS) – the federally funded notification program used to send alerts in the event of a major weather event or public safety concern, such as an active shooter.

Instead, residents relied on each other.

Jerry Karth lives across the Neuse River Trail and learned of the shooting from his neighbor.

“You heard gunshots and you’re like, ‘Okay, is that the gun club down the street or what’s going on?'” Karth said. “Nobody knew. And all of a sudden you had police cars screaming in the subdivision and the police are armed and you’re wondering what’s going on.”

The county told WRAL News it could have sent IPAWS alerts, targeted to within a tenth of a mile of where the rampage was occurring. However, they don’t have the authority to make that decision – Raleigh police should have requested it. County leaders said that did not happen.

A Raleigh woman took to TikTok to express her frustration.

“My neighbor was over there sweeping her porch with her dogs and I had to come out and tell her to come in because she didn’t know we were in an active shooter situation,” he said. she stated.

This is part of what the city is currently studying. We are told that they are preparing a full review of the incident.

“The challenge during an active-shooting event is location,” said Keith Acree, public information officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. “It’s really hard to do that with a cellphone-based system because there’s going to be a ton of bleeding.”

“It’s hard to limit yourself to a small area like a neighborhood, like Hedingham in this case,” Acree said. “It depends on the technology and software used, but ultimately the range will be wider than that area.”

Yet people say that not only is it frustrating, but they haven’t received anything, but also scary.

“How many people could have been saved on the green lane if we had used technology to warn people,” Karth said.

The city told us it uses social media and apps like Nextdoor, posting updates and links to media reports about the 16 nearby neighborhoods.

The county said Wake County residents can send location alerts using publicly available databases of contact information, such as White Pages, Yellow Pages, and VoIP/cellular data. Interested persons can subscribe to alerts and add current contact information and provide a list of addresses for which they wish to be alerted.

Not all cell phones are configured to receive automatic government alerts. We have information on WRAL.com for Android and iPhone users on how to check if their settings include these notifications.

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