"You always have misinformation going out," said Scott Pauley, deputy director of the West Virginia Intelligence/Fusion Center, who helped plan Wednesday's drill.
"They don't know if it's one person, two people or 10 people."
Officers were ordered to set up a perimeter and wait for Charleston Police and Kanawha County SWAT teams, who arrived just before 11 a.m. The campus alert system continued to broadcast updates to students and faculty.
Officers spotted the second suspect a few minutes later, but lost him for several minutes before finally trapping him in a stairwell at 11:20 a.m. There was a report of yet a third gunman, but it turned out to be a false alarm. The drill was declared over at 11:40 a.m.
Jordan Johnson, a University of Charleston student who spent the duration of the drill locked down in a classroom, said the drill went fairly well and he feels faculty and police will be able to do a good job protecting students in the event of a real emergency.
Welch said planners learned some valuable lessons from the drill, including the need for faculty and staff to find alternate ways to communicate if they're physically cut off from one another. The ability of the gunman to move freely between Riggleman Hall and Geary Student Union through the skywalk was also a problem.
"Next time we'll try to find a way to lock down between buildings," he said.
Even with the glitches, Welch said, "It's helpful just getting ready for it."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.